Good Nutrition Before and During Bladder Cancer Treatment

Eating well is a great way to support your body during and after treatment for urothelial bladder cancer (UBC). 

Focus on good nutrition with:

A heart-healthy diet  

Following a Mediterranean or other heart-healthy diet can help protect you from damaging inflammation. It may also help relieve treatment-related symptoms such as fatigue. 

Heart-healthy foods

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Whole grains
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Olive oil 

Fiber-rich foods 

Foods that are high in fiber can help prevent digestive issues that you may experience as a side effect of cancer treatment.

High-fiber foods

  • Oats
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Almonds
  • Avocados 

Plenty of protein 

Protein is key to keeping muscles strong and the immune system healthy. If you’re getting cancer treatment, you may need extra protein to help maintain muscle, heal tissue and fight infection. 

Good sources of protein

  • Greek yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Lean meat
  • Cottage cheese
  • Beans
  • Nut butter

Some foods can do more harm than good during and after cancer treatment. 

Avoid these foods:

  • Red meat
  • Processed meat
  • Processed foods 
  • Fried foods 
  • Alcohol

Don’t forget to drink water

Getting enough water may be particularly important for people who are dealing with side effects of cancer treatment that can lead to dehydration, such as vomiting and diarrhea. 

If you drink tap water at home, consider having it tested for arsenic. High levels of arsenic in drinking water may increase bladder cancer risk. (You might also want to get a water filter if you don’t have one already.)

5 tips for when eating is hard

  1. Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day to prevent feeling overwhelmed by large portions and to keep your energy up. 
  2. Experiment with different textures and temperatures of foods to find what feels most comfortable to eat. Soft foods or cold dishes like smoothies or yogurt can be soothing. 
  3. Stay hydrated by slowly sipping water or herbal teas throughout the day.
  4. Add calorie-dense foods to meals and snacks to make sure you’re getting enough nutrition. Examples include nut butters, avocados and full-fat dairy products. 
  5. Seek support from a registered dietitian who specializes in oncology nutrition. They can provide personalized recommendations, address specific concerns and offer strategies to optimize nutrition during treatment and recovery.


This educational resource was created with support from Astellas and Pfizer.