Food to avoid on chemotherapy


Recently started chemotherapy and have seen people posting about you can and cannot eat. Some say they were given a leaflet or warned about certain foods.

I haven’t been given anything. I even had probiotics yoghurt thinking it was good for me to be told it’s live bacteria and risks infection. Some mention soft cheese, is Philadelphia ok as it’s pasteurised? Eggs fully cooked, no raw or undercooked meat.

Some suggest no raw fruit or veg? Is it risk of bacteria even when washed?

Please can you advise? Or post a link to read.

Thank you so much

I was told to avoid
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice ( too acidic)
Unpasteurised diary products, blue cheese, soft cheese, pro biotic items etc
No rare meat e.g. steak
Take care with takeaways, only trusted ones you ve used before

Its all about infections, tummy upsets and remaining healthy so eat what you like but take care with hygiene

I ate most things but on the tummy washing machine days smoothies ,soups, light meals noodles, jacket spuds ( pre made meals and frozen in bulk)

Good luck

1 Like

Thank you @Curlywurly1 very helpful information.

Hi naughty_boob

Thanks for posting.

Information about what you can and can’t eat whilst having chemotherapy can be confusing.

Chemotherapy can cause a drop in white blood cells, which can increase the risk of getting an infection. As you’ve found, some people are given specific information to avoid certain foods by their treatment teams to follow because of this.

As @Curlywurly1 mentions, more recently advice has focussed on eating a healthy diet during and after treatment. This might mean making adjustments to your diet and meals in order to make it easier to eat. Following good food hygiene when storing, preparing and cooking food is also important. It can also be a good idea to avoid foods that are unpasteurised which may pose a risk of infection, as well as foods that can cause irritation such as citrus fruits and spicy, hard or salty foods.

Your chemotherapy team can explain more about what foods if any they’d advise you avoid in your situation.

You may find our chemotherapy monthly threads, where you can talk with other people who have started chemotherapy at the same time, useful.

Do call our helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The helpline team have time to listen to your concerns, talk things through and signpost you to more support and information. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK -prefix 18001).

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Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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