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The Importance of Protein During Cancer Treatment

Protein filled foods

October 07, 2019

Cancer and the side effects of treatment can lead to malnutrition in patients. This may include nausea, decreased appetite, taste changes and diarrhea. It’s vital that patients receiving treatment maintain adequate nutrition.

Importance of protein for the body:

  • Provides energy
  • Creates lean mass
  • Supports a healthy immune system
  • Makes enzymes for chemical reactions

Benefits of a diet rich in protein and calories:

  • Reduces risk of complications
  • Preserves strength throughout treatment
  • Improves quality of life

Dietary protein comes from both animal and plant sources. Animal sources of protein are complete proteins, meaning they contain all the amino acids the body needs. Most plant sources of protein are lacking in various amino acids.

Talk with one of our registered dietitians to learn how much protein you need each day and for tips on increasing protein and calorie intake during treatment.

Animal sources of protein:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Pork
  • Yogurt

Plant sources of protein:

  • Beans
  • Grains such as quinoa, rice, oats and cereals
  • Lentils
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Peas
  • Seeds
  • Soybeans and soy products


Start your path today.

Your journey to health starts here. Call 913-588-1227 or request an appointment at The University of Kansas Cancer Center.

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