Nutrition and eating well

The department of Nutrition and Dietetics provides services to cancer patients at University Hospital Lewisham, Queen Elizabeth Hospital and in the community setting in Lewisham. 


See a Dietitian

Cancer diagnosis and treatment often affect patient’s appetite and weight. Not everyone has the same problems with eating or finds the same things helpful, and during and following your treatment there may be some changes to your diet. Side effects of treatment can also alter taste and appetite.

As part of your care, you can be referred to a Macmillan Dietitian who will provide specialist nutritional advice on food and nutrition needs. Dietitians liaise closely with the rest of the cancer team, reviewing your condition, test results and progress. The dietitian can help by monitoring your weight, and food intake, and offering advice on how to adapt your diet to help you throughout treatment, and any specific dietry changes prior to or following cancer treatment.

For referral to this service, please speak to your clinical nurse specialist, consultant, or the Macmillan Advice and Guidance Service (MAGS). The Open Access Clinic every Friday morning at University Hospital Lewisham also gives you the opporunity to be referred to a dietician. 

Advice for cancer survivors 

Survivorship refers to health and wellbeing after cancer treatment. The World Cancer Research Fund recommends the following for cancer survivors: 

  • Be a healthy weight. This is one of the most important ways you can reduce your risk of cancer and other health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. See the WCRF Be a Healthy Weight Guide for more information
  • Enjoy more wholegrains, vegetables, fruits and beans
  • Limit processed foods high in added sugar, low in fibre, or high in fat
  • Limit red meat (such as beef, pork and lamb) to 350-500g (cooked weight) per week and avoid processed meat (eg bacon, salami, chorizo, ham, corned beef)
  • Limit sugar sweetened drinks
  • For cancer prevention, don't drink alcohol (if you do, limit to 14 units per week with at least two alcohol free days)
  • Don't rely on supplements to protect against cancer

For more information, see the World Cancer Research Fund website.


Eating well

Eating well may help you cope better with your treatment and illness. Following a balanced diet is important during and beyond cancer treatment as it can help you to:

  • Prepare you for treatment
  • Build your immunity, energy levels, sleeping pattern and reduce fatigue
  • Improve your overall wellbeing
  • Enhance your recovery during and after treatment
  • Manage some of the side effects of treatment 
  • Give you a sense of control and empowerment.


The Eatwell Guide

The Eatwell Guide is a visual representation of how different foods contribute towards a healthy balanced diet. Trying to get all food groups in across the day or week will help you achieve a healthy balanced diet and get all the nourishment your body needs from food.