Pancreatic cancer causes changes in how your pancreas works. These changes occur because the disease affects the body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients from the food you eat. Treatments and surgery can also cause further changes to how your pancreas works. Especially treatments that fully or partially remove your pancreas. As a result of these changes, patients may experience the following symptoms:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • changes in bowel habits
  • loss of appetite
  • changes in your taste and smell
  • mouth ulcers
  • dry mouth
  • low immunity
  • dumping syndrome.

Patients experiencing symptoms will often suffer from weight loss. According to a recent study, almost 85% of people with pancreatic cancer suffer from weight loss at the time of their diagnosis. Weight loss is a serious problem as it can impact the effectiveness of your treatment and draw out your recovery. By managing your symptoms, you have a greater likelihood of maintaining your weight, which will help your recovery.

The best way to maintain your weight is to make sure you get the most nutrition out of your diet as possible. Some ways to do that include:

  • eating smaller meals more often during the day
  • eating a variety of foods to get a range of different nutrients
  • choosing foods that are high in protein as they can help your body repair and recover
  • try to stay physically active if possible as this will help boost your appetite.

Please be aware that side effects can affect people differently. It’s important to know there are many ways to manage side effects to improve how you are feeling.

For more information on manage the symptoms of pancreatic cancer and its treatment side effects download the Jreissati Family Pancreatic Centre at Epworth Nutrition Guide (PDF, 1.65MB)

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Patient Nutrition Guide