Some chemotherapy agents or radiotherapy to the abdomen can cause diarrhoea. It is
very important not to allow the diarrhoea to cause dehydration. If significant
diarrhoea has developed contact the hospital immediately. They may reduce the
chemotherapy or radiotherapy dose and give tablets such as loperamide (immodium).
The following tips may supplement the medication given from the hospital if diarrhoea is an issue but remember to
gradually reintroduce a normal routine and healthy food once it has subsided.
to avoid with diarrhoea:
In general, eat small,
frequent meals and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day (at least 8 -
10 mugs or glasses)
Avoid any food that you have found that appears to make it
Alcohol, strong tea / coffee, cola, fruit juice and
Spicy or highly seasoned foods e.g.
chilli, curry, pickles.
Very ‘fatty’ foods e.g. fried foods
Unripe fruit, pips, seeds, skins, nuts,
raw vegetables, salads
Peal potatoes and avoid large amounts
of dried fruit.
fibre breakfast cereals
very rich foods in moderation e.g. chocolate, cream
- Avoid ‘low sugar’ or ‘diet’
to try with diarrhoea:
- Sip high energy drinks between meals
- Try milky drinks, weak tea and coffee
with sugar added
- Meat, fish or alternative (e.g. Soya).
- Use sauces such as white, cheese and
tomato based sauces (no pips).
- Grill, steam, poach, boil or bake food.
- Use oil sparingly if frying.
- Stewed or tinned fruit, peeled fruit in
- Well cooked vegetables and potatoes.
- White bread, pasta, and rice.
- Ice cream, plain sponges, yoghurt,
plain biscuits, cakes and milk puddings.
Further general information Your doctors
and specialist nurses are in an ideal position to give you relevant information
on your disease and treatment as they know your individual circumstances. Cancerbackup
has a help line (0808 800 1234) and a prize winning video
available in English, Italian, Urdu, Bengali,
Gujarati & Hindi explaining Radiotherapy & Chemotherapy. Cancernet.co.uk
has over 500 pages describing cancer, its management, practical tips and tool
which patients, their carers and their doctors have found helpful during the
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