What Foods to Stay Away From When Diagnosed With Bladder Cancer?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 13, 2016
Misty1234 asked...

my husband got dignoised with bladder cancer and we need to know what food to stay away from


Expert Answers

Beth Reardon, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., is Caring.com senior food and nutrition editor and the director of integrative nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine. As a practitioner of integrative nutrition, Reardon takes a holistic approach to wellness, recognizing that the foundation for optimal health and healing begins with a health-promoting diet. As a practitioner of integrative nutrition, Reardon takes a holistic approach to wellness, recognizing that the foundation for optimal health and healing begins with a health-promoting diet.

I am sorry to hear of your husband's diagnosis of bladder cancer. While there is no diet to follow per say, he could consider keeping a food journal in order to help identify any foods that may be causing undue irritation to his bladder, thereby making his symptoms worse.

Foods that most often tend to be the culprits include:

  • Caffeine containing beverages
  • Alcohol
  • Hot and/or spicy foods
  • Citrus fruits
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • and in some people certain beans or legumes

These types of foods may or may not be a problem for your husband however, which is why a food journal is a very good idea. We do not want to make his diet too restrictive if these are not a problem for him personally.

This is also a very good time to consider if his overall diet is providing his body with what it needs for support during treatment and to increase the odds of staying disease free going forward.

Certainly the priority is to ease the burden on the whole body so that it can maximize the immune response to fight the cancer. Eating "clean", whole largely unprocessed foods (organic when possible) and drinking "clean" are essential. Next to filtered water, green tea is my beverage of choice. In fact evidence from animal studies show that green tea contains certain compounds that have inhibitory effects on bladder tumor formation and growth or cell proliferation. I typically recommend 3-5 cups throughout the day of brewed green tea. Adding a slice of your favorite citrus will increase by 30% the absorption of these important compounds.

The other consideration is inflammation. We know that the standard American diet lacks the essential plant base (9-11 servings of vegetables and fruits) which provides the cancer fighting foods and instead includes a disproportionate amounts of flours and added sugars, which increase inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation is one method that cancer cells use to communicate and spread, so consuming an Anti Inflammatory diet is very important.

I would also recommend that you consider other complimentary therapies to help mange the physical and emotional toll you both may face during this difficult time. Find support in therapies such as Massage, Acupuncture, Reiki, Tai Chi and a healthy mindfulness practice among others, to help manage stress and engage the body's natural healing abilities during this difficult time.

For personalized nutrition advice I would recommend meeting with a licensed professional in your area. You can search The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics online (www.eatright.org) for a registered practitioner near you.

I wish you well. Beth