Tips for eating well and dealing with digestion problems

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

The following tips may help you manage different symptoms that can affect your eating and digestion. If you have questions about any of these tips, speak to your doctor, nurse or dietitian.

General diet tips for pancreatic cancer

  • Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) can help with digestion symptoms. Don’t forget to take this when you eat.
  • People often think they need to follow special recipes when they have pancreatic cancer, but this is not usually the case. It’s fine to eat the foods you would normally eat, or to try something new.
  • There are no foods that you should stop eating because of the cancer.
  • If you can’t manage large portions, try eating smaller amounts more often. For example, try three small meals and three snacks a day.
  • Use smaller plates so that your meals feel easier to manage.
  • Every mouthful helps. If you feel sick or very full, have a break and eat some more an hour or so later.
  • 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, so they are available 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.
  • How food is presented on the plate can help it look more tempting.
  • Sometimes, the smell of food can put you off. If a family member or friend can cook for you that might help.
Read more tips
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“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.”

Read more about dealing with diet and digestion problems

Find out more about dealing with problems with digestion and diet in our booklet, Diet and pancreatic cancer – support with eating and digestion.

Download the booklet

Order a free copy of the booklet
diet and pancreatic cancer front cover

Speak to our nurses

If you have questions about digestion symptoms or eating, 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.

Updated March 2023

Review date March 2025