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Who can help manage my diet symptoms?

Pancreatic cancer can cause problems with how you digest food. Your doctor or nurse will be able to support you. They can help you manage any symptoms that are caused by problem with your digestion, such as weight loss or changes to your bowel habits. They will also be able to talk to you about pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy, which can help manage some of these symptoms.

Pancreatic cancer can make it harder to manage problems with your diet, and it may help to speak to a specialist dietitian. A specialist dietitian is an expert in diet and pancreatic cancer. If you haven’t seen a dietitian, or you have any symptoms from problems digesting food, ask your doctor or nurse to refer you to a specialist dietitian.

Who is the dietitian?

A dietitian is a professional who provides expert advice about diet and nutrition. They can help you deal with any problems with your diet, reduce weight loss, and manage diabetes. A dietitian will look at the cause of your symptoms and help you to eat as well as possible.

It can be hard to manage the diet problems caused by pancreatic cancer. You may need to see a specialist dietitian who is an expert in pancreatic cancer and diet. A specialist dietitian for pancreatic cancer may have different job titles, such as:

  • pancreatic dietitian
  • hepatobiliary (HPB) dietitian – an expert in diet and the liver, gallbladder, bile duct and pancreas
  • oncology dietitian – an expert in diet and cancer
  • upper gastrointestinal (upper GI) dietitian – an expert in diet and the first part of the digestive system.

Not all hospitals will have a specialist dietitian. Your doctor or nurse may help you manage diet symptoms, or they can refer you to a general dietitian at the hospital or in the community.

If you haven’t seen a dietitian and you are having problems with your diet and eating, or are losing weight, ask your medical team or GP to refer you to a specialist dietitian.

You can also speak to our specialist nurses on our free Support Line. They can give you information about how to manage diet problems, and help you to speak to your medical team.

Questions to ask your medical team

You might find it helpful to write down any questions you have for your medical team to ask at your next appointment.

  • Are my symptoms caused by problems digesting my food?
  • Can I be referred to a specialist dietitian?
  • How soon can I see a dietitian?
  • Would pancreatic enzymes help with my diet symptoms?
  • How do I take pancreatic enzymes?
  • I still have some symptoms even though I am taking pancreatic enzymes. Should I increase the dose?
  • What should I do if my symptoms don’t get better?
  • How will my weight be monitored and managed?
  • Can you recommend foods to help me put weight back on?
  • Would nutritional supplements be helpful for me?
  • Am I at risk of developing diabetes?
  • Who should I see for help with managing diabetes?
  • What emotional support is available?

Find more information on diet and pancreatic cancer

Find out why pancreatic cancer cause problems with digestion?

Read about how to manage your symptoms with pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy

Read more about pancreatic cancer and managing diabetes

Read about managing your diet if you can have surgery to remove the cancer

Read about managing your diet if you can’t have surgery to remove the cancer

Find out more on coping with diet symptoms

Read our diet tips for pancreatic cancer

Updated January 2020

Review date January 2023

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