Written by: Shepard Law Firm Staff

For many individuals who have been diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma, an important consideration for treatment options includes a discussion of the potential side-effects of each treatment.

Those who choose to undergo chemotherapy treatment for lung cancer or mesothelioma often experience side effects including loss of appetite, nausea, trouble swallowing and other side effects that make eating and holding down food difficult or uncomfortable. In some cases, patients who are undergoing chemotherapy have even reported that their sense of taste has changed, and certain foods seem to take on a metallic taste.

Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments are often told to try to eat “even if you’re not hungry” that can be understandably difficult to do. Although eating may not be pleasant, it is important for anyone who is fighting cancer to maintain a balanced diet.

  • Keep a food diary: A food diary will be very helpful in maintaining a balanced diet. Keep track of what you eat, and when. Take notes on what foods are the easiest to eat and what foods are no longer appealing to you. Having this information in writing will be also be very helpful to share with your doctor.
  • Stock up on healthy foods that require little or no preparation: While undergoing cancer treatment, finding time to prepare meals may be difficult. Having easy to prepare foods such as frozen vegetables, you will be able to maintain a healthy diet even when finding the time to prepare meals may be difficult.
  • Try to eat at the same times every day: A side effect of many cancer treatments is a loss of appetite. Waiting until you are hungry to eat may leave you with insufficient nutrients to maintain your energy and strength. By setting a schedule and eating at the same times each day, you will receive proper nutrition even on days when you may not be hungry.
    Ask to meet with a Nutritionist: Many leading hospitals have nutritionists on staff to consult with patients undergoing cancer treatments. If the hospital you are treating at does not have a nutritionist on staff, your doctor can likely refer you to one. Reviewing your food diary and discussing your diet with a nutritionist will ensure that you are eating the right foods to maintain your strength and energy during your cancer treatments.
  • Eat foods that pack the biggest nutritional punch: Learning which foods provide the greatest levels of necessary nutrients can allow you to maintain a balanced diet without eating large amounts of food. Avocados, nuts, and seeds often provide a great deal of protein and other essential vitamins and nutrients in relatively small servings. A nutritionist can provide you further information as to the nutritional value of different foods.

Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy often have difficultly eating and swallowing solid food. If you find yourself in this position, you may want to use a smoothie machine or blender to create nutritious drinks and smoothies. Try to incorporate a variety of ingredients into your smoothies, including frozen fruits and vegetables. Green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach provide iron and other essential vitamins and minerals, and make for an excellent smoothie base. Buying fresh and then freezing them will keep your vegetables from spoiling. Add frozen berries or pineapple to add sweetness to the smoothie and get your Vitamin C. For a protein boost, try adding peanut butter, avocado or Greek yogurt to your smoothie. Throw in a banana to add potassium and texture to the smoothie. Mix and match ingredients until you find the combination that tastes the best.

The following links have further information on the topics of nutrition and diet for individuals undergoing cancer treatments:





If you or a loved one is an undergoing treatment for lung cancer or mesothelioma and would like to learn more about your rights please call us for free, confidential consultation (617) 451-9191.