CanHOPE is a non-profit cancer counselling and support service provided by Parkway Cancer Centre, Singapore.


Eating Well in Cancer Care

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Nutrition is an important part of cancer treatment. Eating the right kinds of foods before, during and after treatment can help patients feel better and stay stronger. To ensure proper nutrition, a person has to eat and drink enough of the foods that contain key nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals and water. The table below provides guidelines on choices of food in its food groups that may help in planning meals during cancer treatment.

To Be Encouraged – may be consumed daily
Not Recommended – should not be included in meal plan during cancer treatment due to risk of food contamination and/or known carcinogen

Food Group To Be Encouraged Not Recommended
Milk and Dairy Products Milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, milkshakes, flavoured milk, yogurt drink, cultured milk.
Milk alternative e.g. oats milk, rice milk, nut milk, etc.
Unpasteurized raw milk.
Cheese containing uncooked vegetables and spices, such as chilli peppers, "Mouldy" and soft cheeses, such as blue cheese, Roquefort, Stilton, brie, feta, or farmer's cheese.
Egg Whole eggs – boiled, scrambled, omelette, steamed eggs. Raw egg, soft runny eggs, poached eggs, and sunny side up.
Salted eggs and century eggs.
Meat and Poultry Chicken, turkey, lean meat. Raw or undercooked meat, poultry.
Processed meats e.g. ham, bacon, sausages, luncheon meat, canned meat.
Salt-cured, smoked and charcoal broiled meats.
Fish and Shellfish All type of fishes, fresh water, and deep-sea water fishes.
Prawns, shrimps, crabs, lobsters, squid.
Raw fish (sashimi), raw seafood and raw shellfish, half cooked oyster, clams.
Salted, smoked or pickled.
Fruits Most type of fresh fruits e.g. cantaloupe, mangos, papaya and guava, grapes, apricot, peaches, orange, kiwi, banana, etc.
Dried fruits.
Unwashed fruit.
Cut fruit and fresh fruit juices when eating out.
Preserved fruits.
Vegetables Fresh or frozen vegetables.
Dark green vegetables e.g. spinach, asparagus, green peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, watercress, other greens.
Root vegetables e.g. potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrot, turnip, tapioca.
Variety of dark orange, red, yellow vegetables.
Raw vegetables, uncooked sprouts (alfalfa, mung bean, others).
Salads from salad bar or deli or when eating out.
Cereal Foods and Grains Whole grains, wheat, wheat germ, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grains bread, wholemeal pasta, barley.
White bread, white flour, pasta, polished rice.
Beans, legumes, Nuts and Seeds Soya bean and its products, kidney beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, etc.
Nuts e.g. almond, walnut, cashew, pecan, etc.
Seeds e.g. sunflower, sesame, etc.
Nut butter, peanut butter, cashew spread
Unroasted or uncooked, raw nuts and seeds.
Fats, oil and dressings Mono-unsaturated fats (in canola and olive oil, olives, avocados).
Polyunsaturated fats (in soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, etc).
Oil based and vinegar dressing, low fat salad dressing.
Saturated fats such as ghee, lard.
Trans fat and partially hydrogenated oils, cottonseed oils, palm kernel.
Fresh, prepared salads and salad dressings that is stored in the deli counter.
Beverages Water, clear soup, homemade barley drink, chrysanthemum tea, electrolyte drink.
Nutritionally complete supplements (if necessary) such as Ensure, Resource, Enercal Plus.
Tea, coffee, malted drinks.
Unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juices, Sun-tea or other "cold brewed" teas and drinks, Uncooked brewer’s yeast, alcohol.
Sweet Preserves and Spreads Naturally sweetened.
Sugars and sucrose sweetened.
Artificial sweetener, sweetened with sorbitol, xylitol.
Herb and Spices All type, added into cooking.  
Sauces, marinades, condiments Barbecue sauce, ketchup, meat marinades, mustards, soy sauce, chili sauce, Tabasco sauce spices and herbs, teriyaki sauce, vinegar, wine, etc.