Cancer treatment and chemotherapy side-effects

Coping with cancer side-effects

On top of the symptoms caused by cancer itself, treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery can cause side-effects that make it more difficult to eat normally and absorb what you need from food. 

Our advice, recipes and lifestyle tips can help you cope with cancer and cancer treatment. 

weight loss

Weight loss

Cancer can change your appetite and alter how your body uses nutrients

loss of appetite

Loss of appetite

Worrying about your cancer can make it harder to think about food



It may be best to eat little and often rather than have three main meals



Infrequent bowel movements can be helped by eating more fibre


Some foods make you pass wind more often, which can be uncomfortable

mint tea and ginger

Feeling sick

Some people find that ginger or peppermint helps settle their stomach

Mouth problems

Adapt your favourite foods to make them as soft and moist as possible

Taste changes

Food may taste bland or metallic but this side-effect is often temporary



Your immune system may not work as well as it did before your treatment


If you're exhausted most of the time, eating can give you more energy

Weight gain

Weight gain

Hormone therapy and steroid treatments can cause weight gain