The colon is the part of the large intestine that connects the small intestine with the rectum and anus. Together, they form the final part of the digestive system, responsible for absorbing water, minerals, nutrients, and shaping stool. Colorectal cancer encompasses all tumours that can affect the first part of the large intestine up to the rectum and/or anus.
Dietary priorities during the treatment of colorectal cancer are to ensure adequate nutritional status, improve symptoms, and avoid complications. However, it can be complicated to establish a general diet for this disease, as it depends on several factors: where the tumour is located, the treatments and therapeutic options used, and the patient’s nutritional status and social environment, amongst other factors.
Treatment may cause effects that require some restriction in the diet or, contrarily, may not involve any dietary restrictions: there may be a risk of bowel obstruction (occlusion) or the placement of a bag to collect stool (ostomy). In general, to ensure an adequate nutritional status, in addition to following the “General recommendations on nutrition during cancer treatment”, in colorectal cancer it is important to:
In any of these situations, it will always be the specialist who will indicate the degree of fibre restriction. In case of persistent constipation or severe abdominal pain, consult the specialist.