Simple tips to help people with pancreatic cancer eat well
(BPT) – What should you make for dinner? Most people ask that question at least once a week. For people with pancreatic cancer, however, daily meal-planning comes with particular challenges, such as ensuring they get enough nutrition and managing issues from their cancer or treatment. If you have pancreatic cancer or care for someone who does, you probably know that it’s not always easy to obtain the nutrients needed.
Strategies to promote better digestion and less nausea including consuming small, frequent meals; separating the consumption of beverages and food; and eating slowly. Those symptoms and others, such as loss of appetite and abdominal pain/cramping, are commonly faced by many people with pancreatic cancer as a result of their cancer or treatment and can interfere with getting much needed nutrients.
Additional tips include keeping a food diary to help identify foods that may be triggering pain, discomfort or indigestion, and keeping your mouth clean and healthy with frequent brushing and a simple homemade mouth rinse consisting of 4 cups of water, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon baking soda, to be prepared daily.
“Cooking. Comfort. Care. Nourishment for the Pancreatic Cancer Fight” is an educational program that highlights the unique nutritional issues faced by people living with pancreatic cancer and provides strategies, like those above, to help them. The program, sponsored by Celgene and developed in conjunction with culinary expert Chef Michael Ferraro, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and Meals to Heal, offers tips for managing nutritional challenges, recipes specially developed for people with pancreatic cancer, and how-to videos.
“I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this program because there’s no reason that people with pancreatic cancer shouldn’t have tasty, nutritious food that is easy to prepare,” says Chef Ferraro, who witnessed firsthand the nutritional challenges resulting from pancreatic cancer after his mother was diagnosed.
Ferraro worked with registered oncology dietitian Jessica Iannotta at Meals to Heal to create Turkey Sweet Potato Hash, a nutrient-dense dish that is a good source of protein and B vitamins, that can help boost energy – especially important because of the fatigue that patients can experience. In addition, the cooked apple and sweet potato provide fiber that is easily tolerated and full of antioxidants like beta-carotene and quercetin.
Simple meals like shakes and smoothies are often helpful ways for people with pancreatic cancer to get the nutrients they need. A Peaches and Cream Smoothie combines the potassium and fiber benefits of peaches and bananas along with soluble fiber from rolled oats, which can help alleviate loose bowel movements and promote regularity. Protein powder can be added for additional nutritional value, if approved by a patient’s healthcare team.
Visit www.pancan.org/cooking-comfort-care and www.Pinterest.com/Celgene to view the recipes and additional tips. There are also videos of Chef Ferraro and Jessica Iannotta demonstrating how to prepare these and other dishes as well as offering ideas on ways to adjust the recipes.
The Cooking. Comfort. Care. Nourishment for the Pancreatic Cancer Fight program was created by Celgene Corporation in collaboration with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Meals to Heal and Chef Michael Ferraro. The recipes and tips featured were developed by registered dietitians who are board-certified specialists in oncology nutrition, along with Chef Ferraro. The content is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Talk to your healthcare team for nutritional advice or specific questions you have about managing your condition or that of a loved one.