Diet tips for pancreatic cancer

These tips may help you manage different symptoms that can affect your diet and digestion, such as losing weight, diarrhoea or feeling sick.

Pancreatic cancer can affect how well your body can digest food. Problems with digestion can cause symptoms, including losing weight and having diarrhoea. The tips in this section may help you manage different symptoms that can affect your eating and diet.

General diet tips for pancreatic cancer

If you have pancreatic cancer, taking pancreatic enzymes can help you digest your food. This can help with diet symptoms. Don’t forget to take pancreatic enzymes when you eat.

If you are having problems eating or you are losing weight, these tips may help.

  • If you can’t manage large portions, try eating smaller amounts more often – for example three small meals and three snacks a day.
  • Every mouthful helps. If you feel sick or very full, have a break and eat some more an hour or so later.
  • Eating even a small amount can be a big achievement – try to set realistic goals for yourself. It’s normal to have good and bad days with how much you can eat.
  • Freeze portions of homemade dishes if you don’t feel like cooking, or try ready meals.
  • Keep snacks close by so that you can eat whenever you feel like it.
  • Sometimes, the smell of food can put you off. If a family member or friend can cook for you that might be a big help.
Read about pancreatic enzymes to help you digest food

Speak to our nurses

If you have questions about symptoms, speak to your doctor, nurse or dietitian.

You can also speak to our specialist nurses on our Support Line with any questions about symptoms and how to manage them.

Speak to our nurses
A specialist nurse taking a phone call.

“I managed to get her to eat more food simply by leaving time in between meals and snacks, and leaving snacks in front of her. I noticed that she would go back to them to take another mouthful from time to time.”

Updated January 2020

Review date January 2023