What You Should Eat When You Have Pancreatic Cancer

October 26, 2020

Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of the pancreas. Normally, a pancreas releases enzymes that aid digestion and produce hormones that regulates blood sugar. Exocrine cells produce the digestive juices, while endocrine cells produce the hormones. Majority of pancreatic cancer starts in exocrine cells, while a small minority begin in the endocrine cells.

Pancreatic cancer often causes digestive issues like bloated stomach, vomiting, and impacts one’s appetite. This is because the affected functions of the pancreas makes digesting food more challenging than normal. Thus it is important to have a good diet plan to maintain good nutrition, combat symptoms, and aid in the treatment journey. Here are some beneficial foods to eat!

Protein-rich foods

Protein helps the body to repair cells and tissues. It also helps to keep your immune system strong. This is important for your body to fight the cancer, recover from treatments, and ensure you do not fall ill with other illnesses. It is also important to eat foods that are easy to digest as pancreatic tumours can affect your digestion. Here are some easy-to-digest protein sources:

  • Eggs
  • Poultry
  • Tofu
  • Nut butters
  • Beans

Fruits and vegetables

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables provide your body with antioxidants, which helps in your fight against cancer. Cooked vegetables are recommended instead of raw ones. Berries, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are high in antioxidants, fibre and phytochemicals. Here are some options:

  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Spinach

Eat healthy fats

Avoid eating fried, greasy, and fatty foods, as such foods are difficult to digest and frequently lead to stomach pain or discomfort. Choose foods that are baked, broiled or grilled instead. Healthy sources of fats are needed to help supply your body with energy and maintain body temperature, so here are some foods with healthy fats you should consume:

  • Avocado
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

High-fibre starches

Carbohydrate and fibre help keep your energy up. Fibre plays a big role in maintaining gut health and reducing the risk of developing certain cancers such as colon cancer. It also lowers the glycaemic load of a meal and can improve insulin sensitivity and blood glucose levels. Some examples of high-fibre carbohydrate sources are:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Beans
  • Brown rice
  • Wholegrain oatmeal

Drink more liquids

Water and other liquids help in digestion and also reduce fatigue and nausea. You can also try consuming smoothies that contain calories to help maintain your weight. Fluids will aid your body in clearing toxins and waste. It is recommended to have between 6-12 cups per day. To make drinking water more palatable, you can try flavour-infused waters using your favourite fruits, vegetables and herbs!


Choosing the right things to eat will reduce some pancreatic cancer symptoms and also help you stay energised, aiding your fight with cancer. Remember to choose easily digestible foods! You should also consult your doctor or dietitian to work out a plan that will best suit your current needs.