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Colon cancer is a commonly diagnosed cancer among both men and women. During therapy, many cancer patients turn to food for comfort and recovery. A health care provider may recommend certain foods that promote health and prevent the recurrence of cancer. Seek a registered dietitian for the healthiest food options and exact calorie needs necessary for your condition.

Colon Cancer

Cancer that occurs in the tissues of the large intestines is known as colon cancer. There are many different risk factors that can contribute to this type of cancer. The majority of colon cancer patients are over the age of 50. Other risk factors for colon cancer include family history, smoking, alcohol abuse, diabetes and a high-fat diet, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Diet Significance

Colon cancer patients may suffer from a variety of nutrition-related symptoms that affect health such as weight loss, anorexia and taste changes. Therefore, proper diet is essential for reducing symptoms and improving quality of life. A diet that consists of foods that will maintain a healthy weight and also prevent cancer advancement may be beneficial for cancer patients. Diet restrictions are not typically necessary unless recommended by a health care provider. Cancer patients should consult a registered dietitian for the healthiest food options based on your disease.

Foods to Avoid

Cancer patients should limit the consumption of foods high in saturated fat and sodium, according to the National Cancer Institute. High fat foods include fried foods, red meat and dairy products. Foods that contain high amounts of sodium include commercially packaged and processed goods like canned soups, crackers, pasta, frozen dinners and condiments. Many snacks and baked goods contain sources of sodium and trans fat and should also be avoided. Processed cheese and meats such as luncheon meat, hot dogs, ham, bacon and sausage also contain high amounts of sodium. In addition to high-fat and high-sodium foods, alcohol and tobacco should also be avoided for colon cancer patients.

Acceptable Foods

A plant-based diet that provides at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily is recommended by the NCI for cancer patients. Some examples of fruits includes apples, bananas, melons and berries. Carrots and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and asparagus are some good examples of vegetables. Fruits and vegetables also provide sources of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The NCI reports that a diet rich in whole-grains may also reduce the risk for colon cancer. Whole-grain breads, pasta, rice and cereal products provide good sources of whole-grains and other nutrients. Fish, legumes, nuts and seeds provide sources of protein and essential fatty acids. The UMMC reports that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can also reduce the risk for colon cancer. Whole dairy products may be replaced with skim or low-fat dairy options.

Other Considerations

Carefully wash your hands when preparing and serving foods. When cooking, use olive oils or vegetable oils in place of lard or butter. Read labels carefully when choosing a food product in order to determine the sodium and fat content. The UMMC recommends colon cancer patients consume 6 to 8 glasses of water daily and exercise at least 30 minutes daily.

If you require a colon resection or colostomy, your doctor may recommend additional diet changes. You will need to eat small meals five to eight times daily, explains Medline Plus, and avoid gassy foods such as beans and other legumes.

Is This an Emergency?

To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 infections, it is best to call your doctor before leaving the house if you are experiencing a high fever, shortness of breath or another, more serious symptom.
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