Nutrition During and After Breast Cancer Treatment

If you’re recovering from surgery, receiving chemotherapy or radiation, or having other breast cancer treatment, your main focus is on getting rid of the cancer. Eating well will help you stay strong by giving your body the nutrients it needs.

You and your doctor can’t predict exactly how your treatment will affect you. Your general health and weight before your diagnosis play a role. So do the type, amount, and length of treatment you are receiving. As you move through your treatment, listen to your body and respond to what it needs.

You may continue to enjoy cooking and eating and have a normal appetite. Or you might have days when you don’t feel like eating anything, days when you want to eat everything, and times when only some things taste good. It’s best to have a flexible, healthy eating plan to help you deal with your body’s changing needs and wants.

A healthy dietóone with a variety of foods that includes lots of fruits and vegetables and regular proteinógives you the reserves of nutrients you need to keep your strength up while you’re fighting breast cancer. These reserves also help rebuild your body’s tissues and keep your immune system strong to help fight off infection. Plus, a healthy diet can help you cope with treatment side effects. There is evidence that some cancer treatments actually work better in people who are eating enough calories and protein. While you’re having breast cancer treatment, it’s more important than ever that you eat a healthy diet.

For more on nutrition while you’re undergoing treatment, go to

Marisa Weiss, M.D. is the founder of and the co-author of Taking Care of Your “Girls”: A Breast Health Guide for Girls, Teens, and In-Betweens (Three Rivers Press, 2008).

My intent is to overcome Breast Cancer

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By Marisa Weiss, M.D., from Intent


Tung Lei Wong
Tung Lei Wong9 years ago

I totally agree with you all, doctors and others expect us to exercise, eat well/healthy and all the goods one should do daily during our treatments, but unless one has a team of support personnel to help, the nausea n side effects fro the chemo/radiation does not allow us to do that....yes, I have known some to do quite well and since every individual responds differently to the assortment of cancer, chemo, radiation....we just need to do our best...I think the most important reminder is to be KIND to ourselves.

Sharon Hoehner
Sharie Fox9 years ago

Acrolene is a toxic byproduct of certain types of chemotherapy. Using certain detox agents during chemo will remove the byproduct and leave a person feeling better. It will also help to remove acids and other toxic wastes.

Statistics speak against chemo but for those who do wish to do it anyway, it definitely makes sense to support the body with healthy nutrients, lots of amino acids to rebuild healthy new tissues and probiotics that will help with the immune system.

I will do a mini nutritional consultation with anyone who fills out the form with their phone number (mention care2 please!) on my website:

There are options to feeling better on chemo.

Tammy Breeding
Tammy Breeding9 years ago

I think the goal is always to be as healthy as we can, the problem during treatment don't always FEEL like eating right or exercising..My Dr. told me to walk 30 minutes every day during chemo treatment...are you kidding me? Some days it was all I could do to sit in a chair and stare out the window! Every 2 weeks on my way to chemo, I stopped at Good Times and got a hamburger, fries, and a chocolate shake! I was losing weight so I didn't have to worry about calories, and it set a positive memory for going to the Dr.'s office. My advice well when you can, exercise when you can, treat yourself and don't feel guilty about what you're not doing while you are fighting for your life!

Nancy S.
Nancy S9 years ago

What did "Nutrition During and After Breast Cancer" have to say? "Eating well..." "A healthy diet..." I'm sorry, but the title is misleading. Who is this article educating? How about: Eat heartily, if you can, during your chemo treatment. Drink lots of liquids during and immediately after. Sometimes, when you are too nauseated to eat, eat a little something, anything, crackers, bread. Once, I ate half a banana just to get something in my stomach; because an empty stomach will continue the nausea. Do what you can.