Food safety is important for everyone - but especially important for people receiving cancer treatment. Cancer treatment and other mediations that help fight the disease, can cause side effects that may weaken your immune system. Maintaining a strong immune system is important to help fight infection and remove other foreign agents from your body. Infections can be brought on by bacteria and other pathogens that cause foodborne illness. Be aware that as you age, your immunity to infection naturally is weakened. Here are some tips to help you be vigilant when handling, preparing, and consuming foods.
Keep hot foods hot, cold foods cold and put leftovers in the refrigerator as soon as you have finished eating.
Scrub all raw fruits and vegetables before you eat them. Do not eat foods that cannot be washed well like raspberries and mushrooms. Don't forget to scrub items that have rough surfaces before you cut them like melons, pineapple and avocado.
Wash your hands, knives, and counter tops before and after you prepare food.
Use separate cutting boards for meat and for fruits and vegetables.
Thaw meat in the refrigerator or defrost in the microwave, do not let thaw at room temperature.
Cook meat thoroughly. Meat should not have any pink inside and eggs should be hard, not runny.
Do not eat raw fish or shellfish such as sushi and uncooked oysters.
Make sure that all juices, milk products, and honey are pasteurized.
Do not buy foods from bulk bins.
Do not eat at buffets, salad bars, or self-service restaurants
Do not eat foods that show signs of mold. This includes moldy cheese such as bleu cheese and Roquefort.
For more information about caring for yourself or a loved one who is battling cancer, our resource center online.
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