18 Sep 2020

What foods should be avoided during cancer treatment

Having cancer means you have a higher risk of developing infections. Safe food handling and preparation can help lower your risk

Safe food handling

Cancer and its treatment weaken your immune system and place you at higher risk of developing infections. Therefore, it is important that you practice safe food handling to minimize your exposure to bacteria.

The following food safety tips will help make sure you are eating foods in the safest way possible.

  • Wash hands thoroughly before preparing or eating foods, and in between handling raw and cooked foods
  • Store cold foods and dry foods properly
  • Thaw foods in the refrigerator or microwave, never on the kitchen counter
  • Pay close attention when re-heating foods to achieve an even temperature (stir and rotate foods while microwaving)
  • Use separate cutting boards and plates for raw meats
  • Use another cutting board for foods that will be eaten raw
  • Cook meats, poultry, eggs and fish well
  • Wash fruits and vegetables carefully with cold water before eating and scrub them with a brush
  • Throw away the outer leaves of vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage
  • Eat foods by their expiration date
  • Eat leftovers within three days
  • Do not refreeze frozen foods
  • Never eat canned goods that are swollen, dented or damaged

Avoid these foods

  • Unpasteurized milk, juices, beer and wine
  • Fresh blue cheese, brie, camembert or other unpasteurized cheeses
  • Raw eggs. This includes tasting raw cookie dough or cake batter. You can use commercially pasteurized eggs instead of raw eggs.
  • Moldy or spoiled foods

Related articles

Your nutrition

Managing nutrition-related side effects of cancer treatment