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Talking about men, food & cancer

male cancer awareness week

I've just come away from a meeting with a male client who is being treated for cancer, and it got me thinking about how men particularly may cope with the condition. I’ve treated many men with male-only forms of cancer (penile, testicular and prostate), as well as forms that can affect us all. As they’ve gone through treatment and recovery, I’ve found that knowing what to eat can be a particular issue for male patients. Food can be such a huge part of many men’s identity, whether it’s eating out, cooking up a storm in the kitchen, or enjoying a steak…

Guys who are pretty carnivorous can be thrown if a friend tells them they shouldn’t be eating meat. Those who love to tuck into some chocolate or cheese with a glass of wine on a Saturday night can feel a pleasurable part of their weekly routine has been stripped away if they’ve heard the myth that dairy and sugar cause cancer. They might be given the unhelpful advice ‘to eat whatever they like’, or as one patient told me, ‘don’t bother about your lack of appetite as eating only “feeds” the cancer cells’ (that was from a young oncologist).

Then there are the partners who desperately reach out for advice on what they should be cooking for their loved ones to help nourish them during their illness – and what foods, if any, they should be avoiding.

This is why I founded Nourish by Jane Clarke – to give real, scientific facts about nutrition and illness, as well as recipes that enable people to enjoy food when faced with the challenges cancer and other health conditions can bring. Even when eating a diet suitable for a colostomy or a mouth made tender by chemotherapy, you’ll find dishes here that all the family can enjoy. Whether you’re a man affected by cancer, or someone who loves him, eating together is one of life’s pleasures. We hope Nourish will help.

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What to eat when you have cancer: Q&A
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