Your body uses a lot of energy to heal during radiation therapy. You will need extra calories and protein to help you heal and keep your weight steady during this time. Also you need the energy to help you heal emotionally, emotional healing takes a toll on the body as well and proper nutrition can aid in that healing. Fighting the cancer cells, and attending to the damage to healthy cells caused by the radiation therapy and chemotherapy puts a great strain on a patient’s body. During this time the body requires a proportionally higher amount of nutrients just to maintain standard body functions. Those same nutrients are also needed as building blocks for the functions that will repair all the collateral cellular damage caused by the radiation therapy. If there aren’t enough nutrients to go around, this will lead to malnutrition, a condition where the body is not taking in enough of the right kind of nutrients, forcing it to take them from stores in the fat or actually breaking down existing lean body mass to obtain what is needed.
You don’t need to wait for treatment to begin to add on the extra calories, and if you are overweight, unless a doctor has said you need to lose weight for a surgery you might need or for some other reason, during radiation treatment is not the time to “diet”.
Try and find a high protein drink that you can tolerate the taste and the constancy. Adding these drinks to your normal diet can help you get the extra calories and protein you need. Add low acid fruits to your shake, high acid fruits such as oranges can irritate your mouth if having radiation to your mouth area, esophagus or stomach area, add ice cream and anything else you might like to add calories.