Lung cancer diet recipes

I Have Lung Cancer. What Should I Eat?

How do I make the best food choices throughout cancer treatment?

When you are faced with a lung cancer diagnosis, nutrition can be an important part of your journey. Eating a well-balanced diet during and after cancer treatment can help you feel better, maintain your strength, and speed your recovery.

Maintain a healthy weight. Unintentional weight loss is a common during lung cancer. This can be due to lung cancer treatments or the cancer itself. Monitor your weight closely. If you are losing more than 1-2 pounds per week consistently, discuss with your healthcare team on how you can increase your calorie intake.

Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Eating frequent small meals will ensure your body is getting enough calories, protein, and nutrients to tolerate treatment. Smaller meals may also help to reduce treatment-related side effects such as nausea. Try eating 5-6 small meals or “mini” meals about every three hours.

Choose protein-rich foods. Protein helps the body to repair cells and tissues. It also helps your immune system recover from illness. Include a source of lean protein at all meals and snacks. Good sources of lean protein include:

  • Lean meats such as chicken, fish, or turkey
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese or dairy substitutes
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Beans
  • Soy foods

Include whole grains. Whole grains provide a good source of carbohydrate and fiber, which help keep your energy levels up. Good sources of whole grains include:

  • Oatmeal
  • Whole wheat breads
  • Brown rice
  • Whole grain pastas

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables offer the body antioxidants, which can help fight against cancer. Choose a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to get the greatest benefit. Aim to eat a minimum of 5 servings of whole fruits and vegetables daily.

Choose sources of healthy fat. Avoid fried, greasy, and fatty foods. Choose baked, broiled, or grilled foods instead. Healthy fats include:

  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Limit sweets and added sugars. Foods high in added sugars like desserts and sweets provide little nutritional benefit and often take the place of other foods that are better for you.

Stay hydrated. Drinking enough fluids during cancer treatment is important for preventing dehydration. Aim to drink 64 ounces of fluid daily. Avoid drinking large amounts of caffeinated beverages. Too much caffeine can lead to dehydration.

Use good mouth care. Chemotherapy and radiation to the head or chest can irritate the lining of the mouth, throat, and esophagus. This irritation can make eating and swallowing difficult. Good mouth care is very important if you have mouth soreness. Brush your teeth with gentle toothpaste after eating and floss daily.

Practice good food safety. Wash your hands often while preparing food. Use different knives and cutting boards for raw meat and raw vegetables. Be sure to cook all foods to their proper temperature and refrigerate leftovers right away. Cancer and cancer treatment weaken the immune system, making food safety very important to protect against illness and infection. Read more about Food Safety.

Talk to your healthcare team before taking any vitamins or supplements. Some medications and cancer treatments may interact with vitamins and supplements. Choose food first as the main source for nutrients.

Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. Alcohol may contribute to dehydration, can lower the abilities of your immune system, and provides no beneficial nutrients.

If your treatment includes surgery, follow your surgeon’s instructions carefully. Read our Nutrition and Surgery Guidelines to learn more.

Most importantly, know that your cancer journey is unique to you and your treatment. You may experience side effects that affect your ability to follow these suggestions. If you are struggling with any side effects, such as loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or any other nutrition concerns, your needs may be different. Schedule a time to talk to PearlPoint’s registered dietitian.

Lung Cancer Nutrition

Cancer and its treatment can cause your body to use energy very quickly. When your body uses large amounts of energy, you may lose weight or have difficulty gaining weight. Your oncologist or registered dietitian may suggest that you follow a high-calorie diet to help keep you at a healthy weight.

If you are struggling with eating enough calories due to the side effects of your cancer or treatment, the following tips can help you increase your calorie intake:

  • Try consuming several small meals throughout the day, spaced 2-3 hours apart.
  • Eat more when your appetite is best.
  • Use condiments to add calories to your food, such as adding extra butter, sour cream, oils, cheese, whole milk, whipped cream, mayonnaise, salad dressing, jelly, jam, syrup, and honey.
  • Avoid drinking beverages with meals. These take up room in your stomach, making you feel full faster. Save them for in-between meals.
  • Avoid foods labeled “lite” or “diet”.

The sample menu below provides 3,000 calories a day. Check with your healthcare team or registered dietitian to see how many calories you need in a day.

High-Calorie Sample Menu: Day 1


Calories 750

1 large scrambled egg 1 medium biscuit

2 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. jelly

1 cup grape juice

1 cup 2% or whole milk

Biscuits, butter, whole milk, and juice are high in calories.

Morning Snack

Calories 253

1 cup celery stalks

2 Tbsp. peanut butter 2 Tbsp. raisins

For variety, try almond, hazelnut, or soy nut butters.

Dried fruits are high in calories.


Calories 788

grilled chicken sandwich with 4 oz. chicken

1 leaf lettuce

1 slice tomato

1 oz. cheese

Double the cheese or mayonnaise for even more calories at lunch.

1 Tbsp. mayonnaise

1 cup applesauce

1 oz. pretzels

Afternoon Snack

Calories 294

Orange Pineapple Smoothie*


Calories 779

1 cup spaghetti with

¾ cup tomato sauce and 3 oz. cooked ground beef 1 medium breadstick

1 Tbsp. butter

Large serving of spaghetti noodles and butter help to increase calories.

Bedtime Snack

Calories 144

½ cup chocolate ice cream

High-Calorie Sample Menu: Day 2


Suggested Items


Calories 721

1 cup Cheerios with

1 cup 2% or whole milk and

½ cup dried blueberries 1 English muffin with

2 Tbsp. peanut butter

Dried fruits and nuts are calorie boosters.

Morning Snack

Calories 279

6 oz. fruit yogurt 6 vanilla wafers

Use regular yogurt and skip the light or low-fat yogurt.


Calories 702

1.5 cups Turkey Pot Pie with Cornbread Crust*

1 cup green beans with 1 Tbsp. butter and

1 oz. almonds

1 cup cranberry juice

Large servings of casseroles and combination dishes like pot pies help to add calories.

Add a handful of nuts or dried fruits as dessert.

Afternoon Snack

Calories 360

High-calorie liquid nutrition supplement

Look for the words “plus” or “high- calorie” on the liquid nutrition drinks.


3 oz. pork loin

¾ cup glazed carrots

Stir in extra butter, whole milk, cheese, and sour cream to increase calories in

Calories 782

¾ cup mashed potatoes made with milk and butter

1 medium dinner roll 2 Tbsp. butter

mashed potatoes.

Bedtime Snack

Calories 164

1 serving Pear Crisp*

Baked desserts can add calories even in small servings.

High-Calorie Sample Menu: Day 3


Calories 750

2 medium waffles

1 Tbsp. butter

¼ cup maple syrup

½ cup vanilla yogurt 1 cup grapes

Large servings of butter, syrup, and waffles help to add calories.

Morning Snack

Calories 240

4 squares graham crackers 1 cup 2% milk

Swap the 2% milk with whole milk or a milkshake to add calories.


Calories 780

Curried Chicken Salad Sandwich*

2 slices white bread

1 cup carrot sticks with 2 Tbsp. ranch dressing 1 cup canned pears

Extra salad dressing and fruit servings help to increase calories.

Afternoon Snack

Calories 240

6 cheese crackers


Calories 757

4 oz baked salmon

¾ cup rice with 1 Tbsp. butter

¾ cup steamed broccoli with 1 oz. melted cheese

1 medium dinner roll with 1 Tbsp. butter

Sprinkle cheese and butter on rice and broccoli to boost calories.

Bedtime Snack

Calories 272

3 medium gingersnap cookies 1 cup 2% or whole milk

If your treatment has caused side effects like nausea, taste changes, or mouth sores, you probably have already started your own mental list of foods you’d much rather steer clear of. However, there are some foods that no matter how good they sound are probably best avoided due to the risk of foodborne illness, aka food poisoning. Because some treatments can weaken your immune system until at least a few weeks after they’ve ended (longer if you had a stem cell/bone marrow transplant), food poisoning is not something to tempt. The results of developing a foodborne illness can be serious.

Eating raw or undercooked foods is a common cause of food poisoning. Proper cooking destroys bacteria, but they can start to grow on cooked food if it is left out or in the refrigerator for too long. Food also can become contaminated when someone infected with a virus or other “bug” handles it.

Paying attention to food safety rules and being extra careful when handling, preparing, and storing food is definitely important. However, some people who are receiving or have recently finished cancer treatment should avoid some foods entirely, even if they may have eaten them with no problems in the past. These include:

  • Cold hot dogs or deli lunch meat (cold cuts)—Always cook or reheat until the meat is steaming hot.

  • Dry-cured, uncooked salami

  • Unpasteurized (raw) milk and milk products, including raw milk yogurt

  • Soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, such as blue-veined (a type of blue cheese), Brie, Camembert, feta, goat cheese, and queso fresco/blanco

  • Smoked fish

  • Deli-prepared salads with egg, ham, chicken, or seafood

  • Refrigerated pâté—Sorry foodies!

  • Unwashed fresh fruits and vegetables, especially leafy vegetables that can hide dirt and other contaminants

  • Unpasteurized fruit juice or cider

  • Raw sprouts like alfalfa sprouts

  • Raw or undercooked beef (especially ground beef) or other raw or undercooked meat and poultry

  • Raw or undercooked shellfish, like oysters—These items may carry the hepatitis A virus and should be cooked thoroughly to destroy the virus.

  • Some types of fish, both raw and cooked, as they may contain high levels of mercury

  • Sushi and sashimi, which often contain raw fish—Commercially frozen fish, especially those labeled “sushi-grade” or “sashimi-grade,” is safer than other fish, but check with your doctor, nutritionist, or another member of your health care team before eating these foods.

  • Undercooked eggs, such as soft boiled, over easy, and poached

  • Raw, unpasteurized eggs or foods made with raw egg, such as homemade raw cookie dough

Talk with your doctor or another member of your health care team about how long you should take food precautions and when you can return to eating certain foods again.

Last reviewed October 2017.

Like what you’ve read here at Cancer.Net? Sign up for our monthly Inside Cancer.Net e-newsletter and follow Cancer.Net on Facebook and Twitter for news about the latest in cancer care and treatment.

Lung Cancer

0 shares 8 min

What is lung cancer?
Lung cancer is a collection of abnormal cells in the lung that have the ability to grow into a tumor and has the potential to spread to other areas of the body. Lung cancer type is determined by the way the cells look under a microscope. There are two principal types of lung cancer: non-small cell and small cell (aka oat cell). Non-small cell accounts for 85 percent of all cases while small cell accounts for 10-15 percent. Squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma are subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell cancer tends to have a better prognosis and slower rate of metastasis (or spread) than small cell lung cancer. While small cell cancer is less prevalent, it generally carries a more grave prognosis because it has the ability to metastasize quickly. Lung carcinoid tumors account for less than five percent of all cases of lung cancer. Carcinoid tumors are very slow growing and rarely spread.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women in the US and worldwide. It accounts for about 27 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S. annually. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer combined. Most cases occur in people over the age of 65. According to the American Cancer Society the average age at the time of diagnosis is about 70.

What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
Lung cancer doesn’t typically cause symptoms in its early stages. In fact, at the time of lung cancer diagnosis, some patients may have no symptoms at all. Symptoms of lung cancer usually result when the cancer interferes significantly with the structure and/or function of an organ (for example, growing into a blood vessel feeding the lung, causing the patient to cough up blood and have shortness of breath). Symptoms related to the cancer affecting the structure and function of the lungs include shortness of breath, coughing that doesn’t go away, wheezing, coughing up blood, chest pain, and, sometimes, repeated bouts of pneumonia. Other symptoms result from spread of cancer to the bones (causing severe bone pain) or brain (causing a variety of neurological symptoms including confusion, blurred vision, or seizures). Some lung cancers manifest “paraneoplastic syndromes,” symptoms to related hormone secretion by the cancer. There may also be nonspecific symptoms due to lung cancer including unexplained fatigue or weight loss. Unfortunately, by the time symptoms develop, the prognosis is often poor: the cancer has often metastasized and it is usually inoperable.

What causes lung cancer?
Smoking is, by far, the principal cause of lung cancer and is implicated in 87 percent of all cases. Ninety-nine percent of all small cell lung cancers are due to smoking. Doctors determine the degree of lung cancer risk based on the amount of cigarettes smoked over time: the “pack year” history of smoking. This is calculated by the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day multiplied by the number of years smoked. Smokers with a 30 pack-year history of smoking or longer are at greatest risk for developing lung cancer. Passive “second-hand” smoking also contributes to lung cancer risk.

Although most lung cancers are due to smoking, every year in the United States 16,000 to 24,000 men and women who never smoked die of the disease. (Researchers consider the term “never smoked” to mean people who have smoked less than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime.) Risk factors for lung cancer among non-smokers may include genetic predisposition, air pollution (such as radon and exhaust fumes) and other environmental or work-related exposures (such as asbestos). Probably the most famous case was that of non-smoker Dana Reeve, the widow of actor Christopher Reeve, who was diagnosed at age 44, 20 to 30 years younger than the typical lung cancer patient and died less than a year later in 2006.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists radon exposure as the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, accounting for about 20,000 deaths every year. Radon is an odorless, colorless gas produced by the breakdown of uranium that seeps out of the earth, more commonly in some places on the planet than others. It sometimes enters basements through concrete cracks and becomes trapped there and concentrates in the air. The risk of lung cancer is higher in people who have lived for many years in a house contaminated by radon.

Exposure to other carcinogens such as asbestos and diesel exhaust increases the risk of lung cancer. This tends to occur in the workplace in jobs traditionally held by men. The American Cancer Society reports that while exposure rates have declined in recent years due to measures taken to protect workers, they remain a concern.

Both indoor and outdoor air pollution increases the risk of lung cancer. A study published online on October 6, 2011 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that in China where many homes have coal burning stoves and poor ventilation, lung cancer rates are high among non-smoking women.

How is lung cancer diagnosed?
Many lung cancers are discovered incidentally (getting a chest X-ray for another reason) or due to a high clinical suspicion (risk factors for lung cancer in addition to symptoms or signs). Lung cancer screening may identify lung cancer in certain high-risk individuals.

The U.S. Preventive Task Force (USPTF) currently recommends lung cancer screening with the low-dose helical computed tomography scan (LCDT) annually for the following individuals “adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.” However, the USPTF encourages discontinuation of annual screening in this demographic “once a person has not smoked for 15 years or develops a health problem that substantially limits life expectancy or the ability or willingness to have curative lung surgery.”

The low-dose helical computed tomography (LDCT) is a computer linked to an low-dose radiation x-ray machine that takes a series of detailed pictures of selected areas inside the body. It is more effective than chest x-rays at finding the disease at an early stage and has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from lung cancer. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that screening with chest x-rays and sputum tests (together or separately) doesn’t decrease the risk of death from lung cancer.

Screening has a downside: radiation from chest x-rays and LDCT scans may increase the risk of cancer. According to the NCI younger people and individuals at low risk for lung cancer are more likely to develop the disease as a result of radiation exposure.

In a positive development, in 2015 Medicare began covering the cost of LDCT scans for seniors at increased risk for lung cancer based on their smoking history.

Once lung cancer is suspected (based on signs or symptoms), the diagnosis of lung cancer involves collecting lung tissue samples through a variety of different methods including sputum samples, bronchoscopy with biopsy and fine needle aspiration. Less commonly, diagnosis may involve thoracentesis (taking a sample of any fluid collection surrounding the lungs) and rarely requires surgical procedures such as open lung biopsies (usually the risk of this procedure outweighs its potential benefit).

Staging lung cancer (assessing if it has spread and where it has spread) usually involves a CT scan or MRI, bone scan, and or PET scan (looking at the metabolic rate of tissues). Staging is important because it helps determine the prognosis and the course of treatment for cancer. Early stages of lung cancer have a 40-50% 5 year survival rate as opposed to advanced stage lung cancer (especially if it is small cell), which has an abysmal 5-year survival rate of 1-5%.

Non-small cell lung cancer is classified into 4 stages, starting with Stage I (cancer stays in the lung) and progressing to Stage IV (cancer has spread outside of the chest). Small-cell lung cancer has two stages: limited stage (cancer is limited to the chest) and extensive stage (cancer has spread outside of the chest).

What is the conventional treatment for lung cancer?
The conventional treatments for non-small cell lung cancer include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. A less well-known approach, targeted therapy, is the use of drugs to block the growth of new blood vessels that form to promote tumor growth, as well as other agents that take aim at a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor that can cause cancer cells to grow faster. Still other drugs can zero in on a gene rearrangement that can cause cancer cells to grow faster. Targeted therapy may be given with chemotherapy or by itself. One of the newest therapies that may be of benefit is called photodynamic therapy (essentially using specific wavelengths of light to target cancers marked by naturally occurring photosynthetic agents).

In some cases a technique called radiofrequency ablation may be used to treat some small lung tumors in people who can’t tolerate surgery. Here, high-energy radio waves heat the tumor and then a thin probe is inserted through the skin and delivers an electric current to heat the tumor and destroy cancer cells.

The main treatment for small cell lung cancer is chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may be of additional benefit. Surgery is rarely required.

The main treatment options for lung carcinoid tumors are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

What therapies does Dr. Weil recommend for lung cancer?
When dealing with cancer, Dr. Weil advises that you first determine what conventional therapies have to offer. Then he suggests trying to find an oncologist who is open to an integrative approach; see Integrative Oncology edited by Donald Abrams, M.D. and Dr. Weil. (Oxford University Press, 2009).

There is some evidence that suggests that Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) may help to prevent lung cancer among smokers. (Hartman TJ, Woodson K, Stolzenberg-Solomon R, et al. Association of the B-vitamins pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (B6), B12, and folate with lung cancer risk in older men. Am J Epidemiol 2001;153:688-94).

If you are at higher risk for lung cancer (long-term smoker, radon or asbestos exposure, etc…), you should avoid taking a supplement with beta carotene or Vitamin A because this may further increase your risk of lung cancer. (JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst (1996) 88 (21): 1550-1559.)

Dr. Weil notes that the best way to protect yourself from lung cancer is to avoid tobacco – quit if you smoke, and if you don’t, stay away from smokers and smoky surroundings. He also advises eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and having your home tested for radon.

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

  • Apple devices
  • Kobo
  • Sony Reader
  • Amazon Kindle
  • Android and PC

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit:


To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit:

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

Cooking Tips for the Lung Cancer Patient

Lack of appetite, nausea, pain and tenderness in the throat, and difficulty swallowing can make eating difficult when you have lung cancer. But a few food preparation tips and meal ideas can help you get the nutrients you need while you’re undergoing lung cancer treatment.

“From a lung cancer perspective, the symptom that immediately comes to mind that lung cancer patients tend to complain about is difficulty swallowing,” says Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, director of nutrition and physical activity at the American Cancer Society.

What Foods to Consider in a Lung Cancer Diet

Often, lung cancer patients receive radiation therapy to the chest, which can cause esophageal problems, says Doyle. Whether you’re undergoing lung cancer treatment yourself or you’re a caregiver cooking for someone with lung cancer, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to a lung cancer diet:

  • Have a variety of foods on hand that are soft or semi-soft, so they don’t irritate a tender throat.
  • Avoid foods that are very tart, acidic, or spicy — such as citrus fruits and tomato-based foods.
  • Avoid foods that have rough textures or sharp edges, including raw fruits and vegetables, crackers, or pretzels.

More Lung Cancer Diet Tips

How you prepare the meals can also make a big difference. Here are some tips to make food a little easier to swallow:

  • Try steaming vegetables to make them soft, so they are easier to chew and swallow.
  • Eat frequent, smaller meals throughout the day, rather than three large ones.
  • Try thicker liquids — instead of a glass of milk, try a milkshake, which can be easier to swallow. Soups thickened with blended potatoes are also a good choice.
  • Drinks plenty of fluids, but have them between meals, not with.
  • Pack meals with protein to promote healing.
  • Stick to mild, bland foods for people who are nauseated. Serving them at room temperature can help ease nausea as well.

It’s very important to make sure that the lung cancer patient is getting enough calories each day to keep up energy levels.

“When somebody is experiencing a lot of weight loss, be sure that the foods that you eat and the liquids that you drink are really calorically dense,” says Doyle.

The American Cancer Society has recently released a new cookbook called What to Eat During Cancer Treatment that can help lung cancer patients and caregivers ensure proper nutrition and encourage eating. The recipes are categorized by symptom, says Doyle, so it’s easy to pick a meal that will accommodate particular problems and symptoms.

Eating With Lung Cancer

Liz Williams, 58, of Levittown, N.Y., knew she needed to eat and drink during her treatment for lung cancer — but it was a tall order. Diagnosed in December 2003 with non-small cell lung cancer, she had a lung removed and underwent a grueling chemotherapy regimen. She is now cancer-free, but it was a long, tough road.

Immediately after surgery, she says, she was on high doses of steroids and had a good appetite. Then, she says, she started chemotherapy, and things changed.

“After the first few days after my first infusion, it was very difficult because I didn’t even want to drink water,” says Williams. Water and food tasted strange, but she knew she needed plenty of nutrition and hydration to keep up her strength.

So how did she cope? Before she started a round of chemotherapy, she loaded up on food and calories — salads, steaks, baked potatoes — because she knew that once the medication kicked in, she wouldn’t be able to stomach it. She found that she could sometimes manage watered-down Sprite, the occasional comforting bowl of chicken noodle soup, or an egg sandwich.

“It’s very important to drink fluids to flush the chemicals,” she says, and to eat whenever you have an appetite to get through lung cancer treatment.

Please click on any of the links below for nutritional and dietary information, along with recipes for the lung cancer patient and survivor:

Nutrition & Cancer

  • Handouts & Fact S heets
  1. Coping With Nutrition-Related Consequences of Lung Cancer (Today’sDietitian) (handout)

  2. Eating Tips for Cancer Patients (California Pacific Medical Center) (handout)

  3. Food For Thought: Can Diet Play a Role in Lung Cancer? (John Sacco, MD, University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute) (PowerPoint presentation slides)

  4. Living with Lung Cancer: Practical Tips for Eating (Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation) (handout)

  5. Lung Cancer Nutrition FAQs (Abramson Cancer Center) (handout)

  6. Lung Cancer Nutrition Tips (American Lung Association) (leaflet)

  7. Nutrition and Lung Cancer (Jennifer Woldshohl, RD, CSO, KD) (handout)

  • Booklets
  1. A Practical Guide for Lung Cancer Nutritional Care (

  2. Chapter 8: Nutrition in the Patient with Lung Cancer (Lung Cancer Choices, Caring Ambassadors, 2014, pgs. 108-122)

  3. Chapter 12: Nutrition and Lung Cancer (With Every Breath: A Lung Cancer Guidebook, pgs. 258-286) (Lung Cancer Caring Ambassadors Program)

  4. Eating Problems and Cancer (Macmillan Cancer Support)

  5. HEAL WELL: A Cancer Nutrition Guide (American Institute For Cancer Research, LIVESTRONG Foundation, & Savor Health)

  6. Healthy Eating and Cancer (Macmillan Cancer Support)

  7. Lifestyle Changes That Make a Difference: Nutritional and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors (American Cancer Society)

  8. Nutrition and Cancer: A guide for people with cancer, their families and friends (Cancer Council NSW)

  9. Nutrition and the Cancer Survivor (American Institute for Cancer Research, AICR) (Cancer Survivor Series)

  10. Survivorship: Nutrition Guidelines for Cancer Survivors (MD Anderson Cancer Center)

  11. The Building-Up Diet (Macmillan Cancer Support)

  • Web Pages
  1. Common Questions About Diet and Cancer (American Cancer Society)

  2. Cooking Tips for the Lung Cancer Patient (Everyday Health Media)

  3. Fruits, Vegetables, and Cancer Prevention (Cancer Council)

  4. Lung Cancer Nutrition: Lung Cancer Diet – Beating Cancer with Nutrition (Sarah Cannon) (web page blog)

  5. Nutrition (CancerCare)

  6. Nutrition (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center)

  7. Nutrition (Your Cancer Game Plan)

  8. Nutrition and Cancer (

  9. Nutrition and Cancer (OncoLink)

  10. Nutrition Basics for Cancer Survivors (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, MSKCC) (PDF)

  11. Nutrition for Lung Cancer (American Lung Association)

  12. Nutrition for Lung Cancer Patients (John Hopkins Medicine)

  13. Nutrition for People with Cancer (American Cancer Society)

  14. Nutrition in Cancer Care (PDQ) – Patient Version (National Cancer Institute)

  15. Nutrition Information (John Hopkins Medicine)

  16. Nutrition Resources (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)

Nutrition & Cancer Treatment

  • Handouts & Booklets
  1. Coping with Appetite and Weight Changes (CancerCare) (fact sheet)

  2. Coping with Cancer-Related Weight Changes and Muscle Loss (CancerCare) (fact sheet)

  3. Diet and Cancer: A Guide for People with Cancer (Irish Cancer Society) (booklet)

  4. Eating Hints: Before, During, and After Cancer Treatment (National Cancer Institute) (booklet)

  5. Eating Well When You Have Cancer (Canadian Cancer Society) (booklet)

  6. Lung Cancer Nutritional Guide: Nutritional Tips and Suggestions For Patients During Treatment (Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center) (booklet)

  7. Managing Chemotherapy Side Effects: Appetite Changes (National Cancer Institute) (handout)

  8. No Appetite? How to Get Nutrition During Cancer Treatment (Mayo Clinic) (article)

  9. Nutrition and Lung Cancer: Before, During and After Treatment (BC Cancer Agency, Oncology Nutrition) (handout)

  10. Nutrition and Lung Cancer (Lung Cancer Canada) (handout)

  11. Nutrition During Cancer Treatment (American Institute for Cancer Research, AICR) (Cancer Survivor Series) (booklet)

  12. Nutrition During Lung Cancer Treatment (John Hopkins Medicine) (infographic)

  13. Nutrition for the Person with Cancer During Treatment: A Guide for Patients and Families (American Cancer Society) (booklet)

  14. The Importance of Nutrition During Treatment (CancerCare) (fact sheet)

  15. Tips for Managing Nausea and Increasing Appetite During Cancer Treatment(CancerCare) (fact sheet)

  16. Treatment Day: Portable Snacks and Treats (Pearlpoint) (handout)

  17. Understanding Taste and Smell Changes: Information for people affected by cancer (Cancer Council NSW) (handout)

  • Web Pages
  1. 8 Tips for Managing Weight during and after Cancer Treatment (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center)

  2. 8 tips to fight cancer-related appetite loss (UK HealthCare)

  3. Chemo Cookery Club (website)

  4. Dealing with Side Effects (Chemocare)

  5. Dealing with Treatment Side Effects (American Institute of Cancer Research)

  6. Diet for Cancer Treatment Side Effects (UCSF Medical Center)

  7. Eating during cancer treatment: Tips to make food tastier (Mayo Clinic)

  8. Eating Tips During Cancer Treatment (

  9. Five Tips to Help Cancer Patients Eat Enough Calories (UK HealthCare)

  10. Foods to Avoid During Cancer Treatment (Cancer.Net)

  11. Managing Nutrition during Cancer and Treatment (Chemocare)

  12. Modified Diets (Chemocare)

  13. Nutrition During Cancer Treatment (

  14. Nutrition During Cancer Treatment: Overview (OncoLink)

  15. Nutrition Recommendations During and After Treatment (Cancer.Net)

  16. Nutrition Therapy for Lung Cancer (Cancer Treatment Centers of America)

  17. Protein Needs During Cancer Treatment (OncoLink)

  18. The Benefits of Proper Nutrition During Lung Cancer Treatment (Free To Breathe)

  19. Tips for Before and During Treatment: Eating Hints for Patients with Cancer (The University of Arizona Cancer Center)

  20. Treatment Side Effects – Changes in Taste and Appetite (

  21. Staying Nourished During Cancer Treatment (Cancer Treatment Centers of America)

  • Podcasts
  1. Healthy Eating and Managing Weight Changes During Cancer Treatment (CancerCare)

  2. Nutrition and Healthy Eating Tips During and After Cancer Treatments (CancerCare)

Nutritional Supplements

  • Handouts
  1. Help or Harm? Nutritional Supplements Chart (University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center

  2. Living with Lung Cancer: Practical Tips for Using Oral Nutritional Supplements (Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation)

  3. Nutrition and Supplements (University of Maryland Medical Center)

  • Web Pages
  1. About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center)

  2. Dietary Supplements (

  3. Dietary Supplements and Cancer Treatment: A Risky Mixture (National Cancer Institute)

  4. Lung Cancer and Your Immune System: Cancer Supplements (Lung Cancer Foundation for Young Women)

  5. The safety of vitamins and diet supplements (Cancer Research UK)

  6. Will Supplements Help Me If I Have Lung Cancer? (Patient Power)

Cancer Fighting Foods & Prevention

  • Handouts & Booklets

  1. 5 Tips for a Cancer-Fighting Diet ( (handout)

  2. Foods to help lower you cacner risk (MD Anderson Cancer Center) (printable grocery list, PDF)

  3. Nutrition and Healthy Living (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) (handout)

  4. The Cancer Survivors Guide: Foods that help you fight back! (Neal D. Barnard, MD & Jennifer K. Reilly, RD, Healthy Living Publications, 2008) (booklet & recipes)

  • Web Pages
  1. AICR’S FOODS THAT FIGHT CANCER™ (American Institute for Cancer Research)

  2. Diet and Cancer Prevention (Anne Arundel Medical Center)

  3. Diet – What to Eat for Lower Cancer Risk (American Institute for Cancer Research)

  4. Eat to Beat Cancer (AARP)

  5. Food and Cancer Prevention (Cancer.Net)

  6. Foods to Fight Lung Cancer (Livestrong) (web page article)

  7. Lung Cancer Fighting Foods (

  8. Slideshow: Top Cancer-Fighting Foods (WebMD)

  9. Super Foods (Cancer Treatment Centers of America)

  10. Superfoods That Lower Lung Cancer Risk (

Other Helpful Information

  1. Assessing Your Nutritional Health (The Nutritional Screening Initiative) (worksheet)

  2. Healthy Eating (National Institute on Aging) (web page with different articles)

  3. Eat Healthy (American Cancer Society) (web page)

  4. Exercise for People Living with Cancer: A guide for people with cancer, their families and friends (Cancer Council NSW) (booklet)

  5. Key Studies of Cancer, Nutrition, & Fitness (Savor Health) (booklet)

  6. Loss of Muscle & Weight from Lung Cancer (Lung Cancer Alliance) (A Guide for the Patient, brochure)

Food Safety

  1. Food Safety During and After Cancer Treatment (Cancer.Net) (web page)

  2. Food Safety for People with Cancer (Cancer.Net) (inforgraphic)

  3. Food Safety For People With Cancer: A Need to Know Guide for Those Who Have Been Diagnosed with Cancer (US Department of Agriculture Food and Drug Administration) (patient booklet)


  • Cookbooks, Booklets, & Handouts

  1. Cancer Prevention Recipe Cards

  2. Healthy Eating on a Budget Cookbook (United States Department of Agriculture) (cookbook)

  3. Healthy Recipes for patients receiving chemotherapy ( (recipe booklet)

  4. High-calorie High-protein Recipes (Clinical Nutrition Services) (booklet)

  5. Keep the Beat Recipes: Deliciously Healthy Dinners (U.S. Department of Human and Health Services, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) (cookbook, PDF)

  6. Let’s Get Cooking! (Your Cancer Game Plan) (recipe guide booklet)

  7. Recipes for People Affected by Cancer (Macmillan Cancer Support) (Recipe Book, PDF)

  • Web Pages

  1. AICR Healthy Recipes (American Institute for Cancer Research)

  2. Cook For Your LIFE’s Recipes

  3. Eating Well for Wellness: Recipes (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)

  4. Find Healthy Recipes (American Cancer Society)

  5. Healthy Recipes (John Hopkins Medicine)

  6. Recipes (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’

  7. Recipes (

  8. Recipes (Macmillan Cancer Support)

  9. Recipes (Nutrition in Cancer)

  10. Recipes and Meal Ideas for Fighting Lung Cancer (

  11. Recipe Box ( (The Cancer Fighting Kitchen)

  12. Recipes, Menus, and Diets (Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group)

  13. Sample Menu (Cancer Treatment Centers of America)

  14. Top 4 Juices to Improve Your Lungs (Lung Institute)

Interactive Tools & Quizzes

  1. Check Your Nutrition (Nutrition in Cancer)

  2. Nutrition and Activity Quiz (American Cancer Society) (interactive web page)

  3. Nutritional Assessment Checklist (Nutrition Screening Initiative) (handout)

  4. QUIZ: Guess the Cancer-Fighting Food (American Institute for Cancer Research) (interactive web page)

  5. QUIZ: How Healthy Is Your Diet? (American Institute for Cancer Research) (interactive web page)

Websites & Organizations

  1. Cancer Dietitian

  2. Cook For Your LIFE


  4. Eat to Beat Cancer™

  5. ELLICSR Kitchen

  6. Lung Cancer Nutrition

  7. Oncology Nutrition

  8. Remission Nutrition

Online Consultation

Mobile App

  1. Ask The Nutritionist: Recipes for Fighting Cancer (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) (free nutrtion app, iPhone, Android)

Video Library

  1. Eating During Cancer Treatment (Norton Cancer Institute) (YouTube)

  2. Food Safety for Cancer Patients (Norton Cancer Institute) (YouTube)

  3. Healthy Eating, Active Living Videos (American Cancer Society) (web page)

  4. How to Gain Weight After Cancer Treatment (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) (YouTube)

  5. How to Manage Chemotherapy Symptoms Through Food (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) (YouTube)

  6. Living with Lung Cancer: How Nutrition and Exercise Affect Outcomes (Free to Breathe) (YouTube)

  7. Nutrition and Cancer (Norton Cancer Institute) (YouTube)

  8. What Foods Should Patients Avoid During Cancer Treatment? (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) (YouTube)

  9. Why is Good Nutrition Important for People Who Have Completed Cancer Treatment? (Cancer Treatment Centers of America) (Video, web page)

  10. Why is Nutrition Important for People Fighting Cancer? (Cancer Treatment Centers of America) (Video, web page)

Go Back to The Lung Cancer Study Homepage

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *