An All-Around Bone Cancer Diet
Bone cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that make up the bone tissue. The most likely place of origination of this cancer is the pelvis, however, other long bones of the arms and legs are also commonly affected. This type of cancer is extremely rare, making up only 1% of all reported cancer cases. In this article, we talk about what a good diet for bone cancer is, as some foods are better to eat than others with this condition.
Types of Bone Cancer
Primary bone cancers:
- Osteosarcoma (knee and/or upper arm)
- Ewing's sarcoma (upper arm, pelvis, ribs, and/or legs)
- Chondrosarcoma (cartilage of the shoulder, hips, arms, and/or legs)
Symptoms of Bone Cancer
Most bone cancers are diagnosed incidentally when being evaluated for different issues, such as a sprain or fracture. However, bone cancer may present with the following symptoms:
- Unexplained bone pain
- Swelling or tenderness without associated injury
- Fragile bones that easily fracture
- Weight loss
- Night Sweats
Treatment of Bone Cancer
Based on the type of cancer and the stage of the disease, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery may be recommended as either standalone treatments, or used in combination to achieve desired results.
Ideal Diet for Bone Cancer
Getting proper nutrition is very important for patients fighting bone cancer. Cancer itself, along with the therapies used to treat it, may alter your body’s ability to process food. Therefore, a high-calorie, high-protein diet is recommended before and during treatment to help maintain energy levels and a stable weight.
Diet Before Treatment
You must start eating healthy to prepare yourself for bone cancer treatment. In addition to reserving your strength, it will boost your immune system to help you fight off infections. Maintaining a healthy diet may also help you cope with the side effects of cancer treatment, and deal with a higher dosage of medication, if necessary.
Your diet before starting cancer treatment should look like:
- High protein foods: dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt), eggs, chicken and lean red meat, fish, beans, seeds and nuts
- High-calorie foods: dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt), gravies, salad dressing and sauces
Diet During Cancer Treatment
Your diet during your cancer treatment will differ depending on the treatment you receive.
If you have had cancer surgery, you will need to consume more calories and protein to encourage your body to heal. Frequent small snacks and meals, as well as plenty of water to prevent hydration are recommended. Try to avoid greasy and/or fried foods as they can be hard to digest.
If you are undergoing radiation therapy, it is recommended that you eat something before each treatment session. Again, frequent, small meals and snacks, as well as adequate hydration are recommended. Try to plan larger meals at times during the day when you feel your best.
If you are receiving chemotherapy, the nausea associated with treatment can severely impact your desire to eat. Consuming a small, healthy snack prior to treatment can help to ward off the nausea associated with treatment. It’s important to eat when you are feeling good and be sure to consume a sufficient amount of quality calories, including protein, during these times to help boost your energy. Frequent, small meals and snacks, as well as adequate water consumption to stay hydrated can be beneficial when you are not feeling well. Try to avoid greasy and/or fried foods as they can be difficult to digest.
Diet After Treatment
After successful completion of your cancer treatment, it is essential to consume a healthy diet to aid your recovery. Ideally, your diet after bone cancer treatment should look like:
- Five to seven small snacks or meals containing a variety of fruits and veggies
- High-fiber foods including cereals and whole-grain breads
- Avoid greasy and/or fried goods, opt for baked or broiled options instead
- Dairy products
It’s also important to limit your alcohol consumption (one drink per day for women, and two drinks per day for men).
Dietary Supplements for Bone Cancer
Dietary supplements are beneficial, as they help to address some of the nutritional deficiencies you may experience during bone cancer treatment.
Commonly recommended supplements:
- Multivitamins containing vitamins A, B-complex, C, E and trace minerals like calcium, magnesium, selenium and zinc
- Omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil to boost your immunity and decrease inflammation
- Calcium and vitamin D to strengthen your bones
- Probiotic supplements for gastrointestinal health
Before taking any supplement, it is essential to discuss it with your oncologist and nutritionist.
Foods to Avoid
It’s important that you and/or your family member be cautious when handling, cooking and storing food. Additionally, avoiding certain foods is recommended:
- Cold hot dogs (ensure that hot dogs are cooked until they are steaming hot)
- Processed meat
- Unpasteurized milk including raw milk and yogurt
- Smoked fish
- Refrigerated pâté
- Unwashed vegetables and fruits
- Unpasteurized fruit juice
- Raw sprouts
- Undercooked beef and other meats
Unfortunately, there is no miraculous diet that will cure your cancer or prevent it from coming back. However, consuming a healthy diet before, during and after treatment can help your body handle and recover from treatment, and preserve your quality of life.