PT Health Life

Nutrition for people with stomach cancer

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PT Health Life – Stomach cancer itself and cancer treatment cause patients to lose appetite, lose energy, and have a high risk of malnutrition. Maintaining good nutrition during and after cancer treatment is very important.

1. The importance of diet for people with stomach cancer

Good nutrition helps people with stomach cancer heal wounds and regenerate damaged tissues after surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or other treatments; manage side effects of treatment; Improves the body’s immune system and ability to fight infections, speeding up recovery after treatment.

Colonel Associate Professor, Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Deputy Director of the Institute of Digestive Surgery, Central Military Hospital 108, said: In fact, nutrition plays a very important role in people with stomach cancer. . Ensuring a healthy diet brings benefits such as enhancing physical strength, resistance, and adding energy to patients to increase their ability to fight diseases and pursue treatment regimens and therapies. treat stomach cancer.

Diet for people with stomach cancer plays an important role in supporting treatment and improving the patient’s quality of life:

  • Minimize problems caused by stomach cancer treatments.
  • Partially reduces the possibility of tumor development, increasing the patient’s prognosis.
  • Reduces the risk of infection and helps patients recover from stomach injuries faster.
  • Helps patients feel healthier and more comfortable.
  • Raise morale, help patients stay optimistic, and fight disease.

2. Necessary nutrients for people with stomach cancer

2.1. Protein helps people with stomach cancer strengthen the immune system

Protein helps form antibodies, fight infections, strengthen the immune system, help the body recover quickly, and slow down the digestive process, reducing diarrhea in people with stomach cancer. Therefore, people with stomach cancer need to eat foods rich in protein such as eggs, poultry, shrimp, crab, fish, cheese, avocado, nuts, and soybeans. However, it is necessary to limit eating red meat such as buffalo and beef due to its complex structure.

2.2. Get enough vitamins and minerals

People with stomach cancer often have difficulty providing enough vitamins and minerals for the body. This may be due to surgical removal of all or part of the stomach or due to a large tumor making it difficult to eat.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is important in making red blood cells as well as keeping the nervous and digestive systems healthy. Low vitamin B12 levels that occur after removing all or part of the stomach can easily lead to anemia. Anemia caused by low vitamin B12 levels is called pernicious anemia. People who have had surgery for stomach cancer are often given vitamin B12 (either by injection or by oral supplementation as prescribed by their doctor) to help prevent anemia.

Diet for stomach cancer patients needs to be adjusted according to each patient’s stage of disease, health status and nutritional needs.

Iron is important for patients undergoing stomach cancer surgery

Iron is an important mineral in making red blood cells. Stomach acid helps the body absorb iron. When undergoing gastric bypass surgery, iron levels in the patient’s body may decrease. Low iron levels lead to anemia. Iron levels may also decrease if part of the duodenum, where most of the iron is absorbed, is removed during gastric bypass.


Calcium is an important mineral for building strong bones and teeth. When the duodenum is surgically removed, the body absorbs less calcium. Calcium absorption is also reduced due to dumping syndrome. Dumping syndrome is a condition in which food leaves the stomach too quickly. This causes food to “dump” into the small intestine without being fully digested.

People with stomach cancer may not get enough calcium from food. Low calcium levels can easily lead to weakness and osteoporosis. The treating doctor will prescribe calcium supplements for the patient if necessary to treat low calcium levels.


Folate is important for making red blood cells. Low folate levels often occur because people with stomach cancer have difficulty eating healthily. Changes in the structure of the stomach and intestines after surgery alter the body’s ability to absorb and digest folate. Not getting enough folate leads to anemia.

2.3. Drink enough water

people with stomach cancer should drink 8-12 glasses or 2 liters of water every day. This helps prevent dehydration of the body, making the stomach work better. To avoid boredom, you can drink water, fruit and vegetable juices. The most appropriate time to drink water is in the morning after waking up and 1 hour before eating.

3. Notes on nutrition for people with stomach cancer

People with stomach cancer often have anorexia, do not want to eat, have nausea, indigestion… Patients should be advised by a doctor and follow a good nutritional regimen during treatment. In general, try to choose foods that provide enough calories to maintain your weight; proteins that help rebuild tissues damaged by cancer treatments; nutrients such as vitamins and minerals as well as providing enough fluids necessary for the body’s functioning. Exercise also contributes to treatment-related appetite and digestion problems.

3.1. Foods that people with stomach cancer should eat

Choose foods rich in protein: Protein helps the body repair cells and tissues. It also helps the immune system recover from illness. Every meal should include a source of easily digestible protein, including meals and snacks. For example, good sources of lean protein include:

  • Lean meat like chicken, fish or turkey.
  • Egg.
  • Low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese or milk alternatives.
  • Nuts and nut butters.
  • Beans, soy foods.
Foods people with stomach cancer should eat.

Whole grains: Whole grains provide a good source of carbohydrates and fiber, which help maintain your energy levels. Good sources of whole grain foods include:

  • Oatmeal.
  • Whole grain bread.
  • Brown rice.
  • Whole grain pasta.

Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals, increase resistance, and are good for the digestive system. In particular, for people with stomach cancer who have just had surgery, vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables also help wounds heal quickly and fight harmful external agents.

People with stomach cancer should eat fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins A, C, E rich in antioxidants such as tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin, bananas, sweet grapefruit, and green leafy vegetables. Choose a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to get the greatest benefits. Aim to eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables each day.

Choose healthy fat sources: Limit fried, fried, and greasy foods. Choose healthy sources of fats including:

  • Olive oil.
  • Butter.
  • Nuts.
  • Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.

After stomach cancer surgery, patients cannot eat many meals and often feel full after eating a small amount of food. Try to eat small meals or snacks about 6 times a day. This is often easier than eating 2 – 3 large meals a day.

After gastric surgery, patients should eat liquid, soft foods, divided into several meals. Make sure to eat clean and have a nutritious diet. Patients often have anorexia so they are susceptible to malnutrition that affects the immune system. The nutritional composition of food needs to ensure enough protein, vitamins and minerals, fiber,…

3.2. Foods that people with stomach cancer should avoid

A healthy diet must ensure fresh, clean food, no chemicals, no preservatives. Limit processed foods, foods that are too greasy, and limit salty foods. Limit strong tea and coffee, which cause increased stomach secretions.

Avoid drinking water with meals , especially carbonated drinks. These fluids usually fill the stomach quickly. Drink high-calorie or high-protein liquids between meals.

Limit your intake of high-fiber foods  such as whole-grain breads and cereals, as they tend to make you feel full sooner than other foods. According to Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, people with stomach cancer should eat low-fiber foods, about 6-10g/day and not eat at the same time. When the stomach is damaged, eating too much fiber will cause bloating, discomfort and diarrhea. Patients should eat grains because they are not only low in fiber but can also reduce gastric juice.

Limit sweets and added sugars: Foods high in added sugars like desserts and sweets provide little nutritional benefit and slow the healing process. Replace with other foods that are better for your health.

Avoid drinking alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks and spicy foods , because they irritate the stomach, make it difficult to digest, make stomach symptoms worse, and affect the treatment process.

In particular, people with stomach cancer should be careful with dairy products after surgery. Gastric bypass surgery can cause lactose intolerance. Dairy products such as milk, cream soups, ice cream, yogurt and cheese should be avoided. If you want to eat these foods, you should slowly introduce milk back into your menu to see how your body handles it after surgery.

Weight loss is a common problem for people with stomach cancer. It is important to maintain weight even when your appetite has changed. Proper nutrition will help the body fight disease and cope with the effects of stomach cancer treatment. Keep a variety of nutritious foods high in protein and calories, as well as quick and easy snacks, on hand to have on hand when needed.

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