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Frequently Asked Questions


Is there any specialized diet for people who have had the Whipple procedure for pancreatic cancer? What dietary suggestions would you make?

Thank you for visiting my web site. It is very difficult to make generalized dietary recommendations for people who have had a Whipple procedure for pancreatic cancer because nutritional status prior to the surgery and then tolerance and the potential for long-term complications after the surgery varies significantly from individual to individual.

The primary concern after this surgery is malabsorption of fats (resulting in weight loss), plus malabsorption of fat-soluble vitamins, some minerals, and many phytochemicals that are also fat-soluble. Sometimes these problems can even happen with minimal GI distress. Malabsorption secondary to this surgery is usually treated with high doses of oral pancreatic enzymes for which (1) an individual's response to a particular brand and dosing of these enzymes needs to be assessed and (2) the person needs to be taught how to titrate the dose taken to the exact amount of fat contained in each meal and snack. Some people may additionally develop diabetes after this procedure, although this is not universal.

I highly recommend obtaining the professional expertise of a Registered
Dietitian (RD) at your local cancer treatment facility, medical center outpatient department, or private practice in your locality. The RD, working with your full medical team, can assess your current nutritional needs, develop and prioritize individualized goals taking your entire medical history and any on-going therapies into account, help you and your family develop a realistic plan for achieving these goals, and then be available for monitoring and answering questions and concerns that develop during your recovery path.

If an RD in private practice is needed, you may locate one by going to the
web site for the American Dietetic Association at http://www.eatright.org, click on Find A Nutrition Professional, click Yes on the agreement page, and then type in your zip code. Look for an RD with experience in oncology.

One web site that explains the Whipple procedure and potential complications very well is:
web%20pages/pancreas %20resection/whipple%20operation.html

posted 4/06



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Pancreatic Cancer

Vegetarian Nutrition Is there any specialized diet for people who have had the Whipple procedure for pancreatic cancer? What dietary suggestions would you make? posted 4/06 



These questions and answers are intended to be of a general informative nature. Please consult with the Registered Dietitian in your cancer center or your health care provider for nutritional advice that can be individualized to your specific medical condition.

Contact Information:
Phone/Fax: 734/996-9260

P.O. Box 130221, Ann Arbor, MI  48113

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