Diet after colon cancer surgery

Updated at: Jun 10, 2016
Diet after colon cancer surgery

People who have had colon cancer surgery must choose wisely what they eat and do. Here is a short guide on the diet regulations that these patients must follow.

Bhadra Kamalasanan
CancerWritten by: Bhadra KamalasananPublished at: Jul 09, 2015

If you have been diagnosed with colon cancer or are being treated for it--- you may be surprised to hear that diet changes even now can make a difference. After surgery or chemotherapy for coon cancer you may not feel like eating much. But eating the right foods can help you to recover and hasten healing. Most importantly the right kind of foods can decrease the risk or even help to prevent a recurrence of your colon cancer.

Colon surgery diet

Colon cancer treatment diet: Ground-breaking research

A first-of-its-kind study in patients with stage III colon cancer treated with surgery and chemotherapy—showed that eating a diet rich in plant based foods decreased the risk of recurrence of colon cancer. Whereas, patients on diet consisting of meat and processed foods were 3 1/2 times more likely to experience a recurrence of their colon cancer.

Foods to avoid: The foods that should be avoided to reduce your risk of colon cancer recurrence include;

  • Red and processed meats
  • Desserts and other sweets
  • Refined grains like white bread, white rice, and pasta
  • French fries and other fried foods

The exact reason why these foods increase the risk of colon cancer is not known--- but probably higher insulin levels and related conditions promote tumors growth and development.

Foods to eat: The foods that reduce your risk of colon cancer recurrence include;

  • Whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, barley, oatmeal
  • Vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower,  broccoli, spinach, dark green leafy vegetables, peas, corn, carrots, tomatoes, sprouts, potatoes
  • Fruit like berries (raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries) apples, pears, bananas, mango, apricots, citrus fruits, dried fruit, prunes, raisins
  • Poultry and fish

Colon surgery diet

Colon cancer treatment diet: Putting it all together

After treatment for colon cancer while you are recovering make these healthy food choices:

  • Fruits and vegetables. Include a wide range of bright colored fruits and vegetables (green, yellow, orange) as they have plenty of vitamins and minerals, fiber and phytochemicals besides anti-oxidants (the helps your body to fight cancer cells). Eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Use garlic, ginger, turmeric, curry powder, basil and other spice in your food as they boost your body’s cancer-fighting ability. Eat foods rich in folate (folic acid), as it has been shown that diet low in folic acid may increase the risk of recurrence of colon cancer.
  • Whole grains. Include foods made from whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, barley, oatmeal. Whole grains are rich in fiber and fiber helps to keep your digestive system clean and healthy and reduces the risk of colon cancer.
  • Dairy foods. As calcium, and vitamin D, may reduce your risk of colon cancer add low-fat dairy products (milk, cheese, and yogurt) in your diet. You should aim to get about 1200 to 1500 milligrams of calcium daily from dairy products.

Other healthy lifestyle choices which can decrease the risk of colon cancer recurrence include

  • Limit alcohol—women should limit it to about one drink (12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine) daily and men to two or fewer drinks daily.
  • Quit smoking as it has been shown to be major risk factor for recurrence of colorectal cancer.

Image source: Getty Images

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