Cancer does so many awful things, but one of the worst is its ability to take away the sense of control we feel in our lives. It makes us feel helpless and powerless. We have no control over what’s happening to our bodies and we’re forced to undergo therapies that have potential to change our lives forever – hopefully for purposes of good, but also potentially in negative ways.
As an oncologist, one of the first questions, and definitely one of the most common ones I’m asked, is what to eat during cancer therapy….or what to eat after cancer therapy, or what to eat to prevent cancer from returning. It’s a hard question to answer because there is not one single right answer. I’d like to try to tackle some of those questions here.
I fully believe that food is to be enjoyed. While it is nourishing to our bodies, it can also be nourishing – and healing – to our souls. Of course, the nutritional value of food itself is important, but also of unrecognized importance is the process of cooking a meal and the experience of sharing a meal with those we love. The power of food and the act of eating is often magnified when a person undergoes cancer treatment, a time when various factors come into play that affect all aspects of eating – from having poor appetite… to not enough energy to cook… to alterations in the sense of taste and smell… to the loss – or gain – of social support at mealtimes.
I’d love to touch on all of this, and more, based on my own love of food, cooking, and sharing meals, and on my experience as an oncologist, treating patients who undergo such cancer treatments and live to tell the tale.
So, join me on this journey. I may not have all the answers – because there may not be answers – but at least we can talk about it. We can have a conversation.
We can help people enjoy food despite cancer… and in spite of cancer.