Understanding Nutrition

How Do Treatments Affect Nutrition?

whipple

Surgery

Some surgical procedures affect the way the body digests food. These include the Whipple procedure and distal pancreatectomy. Both remove part of the pancreas. This can make it hard for the part that remains to make enough enzymes to digest food or absorb fat from food.

This lack of enzyme production is more likely following a Whipple procedure. Without these enzymes to aid in digestion, diarrhea is common. Some people also experience

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Stomach cramps
  • Poor appetite

Prescription pancreatic enzymes may be an option to help improve digestion and absorption of food.

Medicines

If you are taking prescription medicines, you may notice changes in the way your food tastes. Or you may have less of an appetite. Some medicines may cause some of the same issues that the cancer itself causes. These include

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Fatigue

All of these can make it hard to want to eat, so you may not take in the nutrition that you need.