Nutrition during cancer treatment (1241)

Key points below

Cancer and its treatments may affect your child’s appetite. It can also change how your child eats and how the body uses nutrients in food.

Why is nutrition important?

Getting the right nutrition will help your child:

Better tolerate treatments and the side effects.

What nutrients does my child need?

All people need carbohydrates, protein and fat; the building blocks of nutrition. In patients getting cancer treatment these building blocks are very important because they help your child continue to grow and develop. Other nutrients and hydration are important too, like vitamins, minerals and water.






Eating by mouth. The most natural way to provide nutrition is by eating and drinking. Sometimes it is hard to eat everything you need. Your dietitian may recommend changes to improve nutrition including:

Even with diet changes, your child may not be able to eat enough by mouth. Other ways to give nutrition may be used to keep your child from losing weight and muscle mass.

Appetite Stimulants are medicines that may be used to help increase your child’s appetite.

Tube Feeding (Enteral Nutrition) may be used if your child needs more nutrition to meet calorie needs. Many children with a feeding tube can still eat by mouth.

IV Nutrition is used when tube feeding cannot be used. Your healthcare team and dietitian will provide nutrition through an IV. This is called total parenteral nutrition (TPN).

Other Important Nutrition Tips: Providing foods that are safe for your child is important. Practicing food safety can help.


Call your child’s doctor, nurse or clinic if you or your child have any concerns or if your child has special health care needs not covered by this information.