Dietary - my sis is not allowed Apples or raw salad?

My sister (aged 35) is being treated with 3rd stage breast cancer and since she started her chemo therapy 2 months ago, she now suffers from severe consitipation.

I just flew over to be with her 2 days ago and I was told that she is not allowed apples or raw salad in her diet, in case of a bacteria infection, as her immue system is ultra low. But then we saw a different doctor yesterday and were told that she’s allowed all fruits.

It seems to be there are different standards from different healthcare professionals, what is everyone else doing and is there any dietary requirement informatino I can get hold of to help monitor what she eats? Thanks everyone!

This is the time that her body need fruit,and she can eat raw salad,and veggies a lot of them this will bring up her white blood count.Chemo makes you constipation she can get from her pharmacy Laxette liquid it helps.And eat a lot of oranges.For the nausea she can drink ginger tee.

Hi I wasn’t told to avoid these things before I started chemo but during chemo I developed a bacteria infection and low blood count and was told no fresh salads fruit or veg until the rest of chemo had finished, unless it had a thick skin and could be peeled.tinned prunes may be a good idea for the constipation but tell your sister not to have too many otherwise it could cause the opposite effect lol.

Best wishes to you and your sister Melxx

As long as fruit and salads are washed before they are eaten, she should be fine. There seems to be so much conflicting advice, but in all honesty, just good hygiene and careful preparation should see her right. Technically, we should wash all fruit and veg before use anyway… in reality, unless the lettuce has come from the garden with slugs attached… it’s not something I’m used to doing!

To be ultra careful, she could always peel any fruit she has, but a good wash first she get rid of any bacteria lurking on the skin from other people handling it, or any pesticide residue.

Sophie xx

somewhere on this site is a really useful thread ‘top tips going through chemo’ started by Princess 18. I can’t find it now but perhaps the mods could help. There is all sorts of advice on it including (i think) a recipe for a sort of laxative cake which apparently works quite well.
I did a lot of juicingwhen on chemo but think i over did it as can’t stand veg juices now.

would just like to add that I do have good hygene and have always washed fresh veg.but when you get neutropenia the body has a tougher time successfully fending off foreign bodys and bacteria.

best wishes melxx

Linseeds are excellent for constipation - and a very good source of Omega 3 as well.


Hello I had awful constipation while on chemo (after the first treatment only) - and took one sachet of Movicol which did the trick within a few hours. Took one sachet after the second chemo to avoid it getting a hold , then after that didnt need it - in fact had the opposite trouble a few days after each chemo.

I was told some of the other standard treatments for constipation can cause side effects, I was well impressed with the way that Movicol worked - it makes the stools softer to be blunt.

Hello. I was really constipated after my first chemo but after that used to take a good dose of lactulose and senna liquid before going to the hospital for the chemo. I knew I wouldn’t feel like taking it after I got home. It always did the trick in a very gentle, easy way.

Best wishes

I also ate fruit and veg during my chemo wasnt told not to never had any problems constipation is one of the most common things during chemo you can get some medicine from your gp realy good hope this helps

Hello all,

I was told I could eat all fruit except Grapefruit whilst on chemo, something to do with the enzymes, was anyone else told this?

Grapefruit and particularly juice reacts with quite a few drugs in a bad way. Here’s a brief article on it:

Some drugs aren’t broken down properly because of the action of some citrus fruit on enzymes. I believe this may include some types of chemotherapy.

I wouldn’t eat large amounts of citrus fruit anyway. The acid isn’t great on delicate stomachs during chemo. Vegetables and veg juices and soups are a great way to get all your vits etc.

Millielaw - Forgot to say, that constipation is a common problem through chemo. Your sister should get something prescribed like movicol to see her through. As Finty says flaxseed really works too, I get some that I sprinkle on cereal.

Hi you got a lot off respond back,all of us went through chemo,what works for one its not to say it will work for another,As long as you got a lot of information it will help to get through chemo,before you know its over!

i have some movicol in the house just in case but so far haven’t needed it.I eat all fruit and veg, just wash it first. I would avoid grapefruit though cos it has a habit of interfering with all types of drugs. I make sure i drink lots pre chemo, during and after. In fact I have sort of got used to this and drink lots more than i ever did before my treatment. Nuts might be a good way of introducing more fibre if you can stand then, not too salty though and they have natural good fats. Hazlenuts are the best. How about a tub of low fat yoghurt( not activia though, cos you mustnt have live culture yoghurt) with a sliced banana and a handful of hazelnuts. Yummy!
x sarah