Food for blood cancer patients

What is blood cancer

Blood cancers are cancerous tumors that develop within the bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen, liver, stomach, intestines, pancreas, kidneys, lungs, heart, brain, skin, eyes, nervous system, testicles, ovaries, or prostate. 

Blood cancers can affect any person at any age, but they are most commonly seen in older adults. There are over 30 different types of blood cancers, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL),  Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas (NHL), multiple myeloma (MM), relapsed/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL),and others.


Treatment options for blood cancers vary depending on the type of blood cancer and its stage. The blood cancer treatment cost changes with the type of treatment chosen. Treatments for early-stage blood cancers include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stem cell transplant, and surgery. Advanced blood cancers may require treatment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapies and immunotherapy.

Risk factors of blood cancer

The risk of developing blood cancer increases with age. Some people are genetically predisposed to blood cancers. Genetic predispositions may include having a family member who has had blood cancer. In addition, some individuals have been exposed to certain chemicals or radiation, such as those working in the nuclear industry or those with exposure to asbestos, vinyl chloride, benzene or ionizing radiation.

Symptoms of blood cancer

The symptoms of blood cancer depend upon where the cancer originated and how advanced it has become. If the cancer originates in the bone marrow, then blood cells may not function normally. If the cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, then swelling in the neck, chest or groin may occur. Other symptoms include fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, fever, night sweats, pain in bones and joints, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, mouth sores, bleeding from the nose, gums or vagina, bruising easily, pale skin, and dark urine.

Survival rates and prognosis

Survival rates and prognoses for blood cancers depend on the type of blood tumor, its stage and whether or not treatments were successful in treating the disease. Overall survival rates for blood cancers range between 5% and 90%, with a median survival rate of 4–8 months. Prognosis also varies based on the type of blood cancers and their stage.

Food items to involve in diet of blood cancer patients

1. Whole foods

Whole food diets have been proven to be superior to processed foods because they give us the best chance of getting all the vitamins and minerals we need without excess sugar and refined carbs. You should focus on eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy products, lean meats and fish, eggs, and oils. Make sure you eat enough protein and fat.

2. Fish oil

Fish oil is high in omega-3 fatty acid content, which helps keep inflammation down and promote healing. Omega-3 fatty acids help lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, and fight off depression. If you’re looking for a supplement, look for a high-quality EPA/DHA fish oil product.

3. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin! When you get outside and soak up some rays, your body produces its own vitamin D. However, if you live in a northern climate where it’s winter longer than six months out of the year, you may be deficient in vitamin D. Supplementation with a quality vitamin D product can increase your intake and prevent deficiencies.

4. Probiotics

Probiotic supplements help restore gut flora balance and protect your immune system. There are many brands to choose from, including those containing Lactobacillus casei Shirota, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast, and others.

5. Antioxidants

Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize free radicals and stop them from causing damage throughout our bodies. Free radicals cause cellular damage and contribute to aging. Eat plenty of antioxidant-rich foods, like berries, dark chocolate, spinach, almonds, tomatoes, olive oil, avocado, salmon, broccoli, and dark leafy greens.

6. Superfoods

Superfoods are packed full of antioxidants, fiber, and phytonutrients. These superfoods are cruciferous vegetables like kale, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, broccoli, bok choy, arugula, and mustard greens. Other superfoods include blueberries, acai, cranberries, goji berries, raspberries, pomegranate, red bell peppers, onions, garlic, lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, dates, figs, peaches, strawberries, cherries, avocados, mushrooms, olives, peas, tofu, tempeh, soybeans, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, sesame tahini, seaweed, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil, parsley, cilantro, cumin, coriander, safflower, coconut, cocoa, cacao, kombucha, green tea, coffee beans, cacao nibs, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, millet, brown rice, wild rice, lentils, and wild rice vinegar.

7. Protein

Protein is critical for a well-balanced diet. Animal protein contains the amino acid methionine, while plant protein contains tryptophan, which makes people sleepy. Most people do not eat enough protein, especially vegetarians and vegans. Aim to consume about 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight each day.


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