Skip to main content

Pancreatic cancer is an extremely difficult disease to live with. It’s painful and affects so many more parts of your body than your pancreas. In 2022, an estimated 62,210 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 49,830 people will die from the disease.

While it’s obviously important to work with your doctor and follow the recovery plans they’ve made for you, it can also be helpful to have some simple dietary tips on hand to ease your cancer symptoms.

We consulted an expert, Dana Ellis HunnesPhD, MPH, RD, assistant professor at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health and senior dietitian at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, for a list of eating habits that can bring relief to your daily life, and for more diet tips healthy, check out 50 Worst Foods To Never Eat If Cancer Runs In Your Family.

Shutterstock

When you have pancreatic cancer, making your own shakes at home can help you get enough calories, even when you don’t have an appetite.

“We often recommend that patients make shakes at home so that they can consume the healthiest ingredients, such as berries, unsweetened plant-based yogurt (e.g. cashew yogurt), vegetable protein powder for extra protein, a banana, and some vegetable milk or a little juice to thin it out. It’s a good thing for patients to drink because when they lose weight involuntarily, they have to absorb more calories, and often their appetite is lower.more calories from drinking calories than from eating for many pancreatic cancer patients,” says Dr. Hunnes.

choose healthy foods
Shutterstock

According to Dr. Hunnes, it’s important to try to eat as many whole foods as possible while limiting your intake of processed foods.

“Often pancreatic cancer patients find it more difficult to digest or absorb their food because their insulin secretion is affected by pancreatic cancer. Often their pancreatic enzymes are also affected. patients eat foods that are too high in fat (fried foods) or too high in sugars (pastries, white breads, refined carbohydrates), they will have a harder time digesting and absorbing these foods.For this reason, a less processed diet and filled with more whole foods are often better digested and absorbed than those that are highly processed,” says Dr. Hunnes.

RELATED: What Happens To Your Body When You Give Up Processed Foods

Low fat
Shutterstock

Specifically reducing your fat intake can help you manage your pancreatic cancer symptoms.

“Diarrhea and loose stools can also be a fairly common side effect or symptom of pancreatic cancer. This is because we don’t digest and absorb fat very well. If you see this as one of your side effects, it is recommended that you eat a less-fat diet, and talk to your doctor about taking pancreatic enzymes.One of the reasons patients lose weight is that they don’t absorb very their calories well.In terms of limiting fat intake, we generally recommend avoiding fried foods, foods that just swim in oil and instead recommend healthy sources of fat such as avocado in small portions, nuts and seeds,” says Dr. Hunnes.

Woman eating a salad
Shutterstock

Finally, focusing on getting enough calories daily can improve your overall health if you’re living with pancreatic cancer.

“But one of the most important things to do with pancreatic cancer is to make sure you’re getting enough calories each day, which can often be a challenge if you experience cramping or pain in the pancreas itself. Because appetite can decrease, it’s important to eat high-calorie foods,” says Dr. Hunnes.