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Coping With Cancer During the Holidays

December 12, 2011

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Much holiday cheer comes during celebrations with friends and family around the table. If a loved one or friend has been diagnosed with an illness such as cancer, that meal can pose a challenge because of the side effects of treatment.

Planning ahead in these situations can help, says registered dietitian Sharlene Bidini. For example, she says, the host can ask the person about the best day for the celebration meal.

"Oftentimes, if you're receiving chemotherapy, for example on a Tuesday, they have a pattern of feeling bad Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. But then maybe they might rebound and feel good on the weekend."

Those undergoing treatment often have sensitive and sore throats, Bidini says, so acidic fruits and vegetables are best offered in a way they can be avoided, but the main meal is usually a perfect fit.

"Whatever you choose - turkey, ham, chicken, fish, whatever your primary protein is - that's excellent for healing."

Tips on coping with cancer during the holidays and some holiday recipes are online at

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MD