Patient: Hi Miss Dietitian, actually I’m one of the cancer fighter of colorectal cancer. I heard that most of people out there said that cancer people need to practice food safety tips. Can you share with me?
Dietitian: Hi Madam! Yea absolutely true, if cancer patient who undergo treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Then the patients need to practice food safety and take care of their hygiene. Here I share you the reason behind this statement and several tips for you to practice.
For cancer patient who undergo treatment or procedure such as chemotherapy, their immune system will be weak and due to this reason, personal hygiene and food safety need to be consider.
These food safety tips are especially important for people undergoing and recovering from cancer treatment:
- Wash hands frequently. Use plenty of soap and hot, running water for at least twenty seconds.
- Use hand sanitizer for cleaning hands when soap and water are not available.
- Wash or sanitize hands:
- After using the restroom
- Before eating
- Before and after each step of food preparation
- After handling garbage
- After touching pets.
- After do household chores
- After sneezing or coughing
- Keep cutting boards, countertops, and utensils thoroughly cleaned.
- Change, launder, and discard sponges and dish towels often.
- Separate and do not cross-contaminate:
- Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs away from ready-to-eat foods.
- Always use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry, and fish.
- Cook food thoroughly at proper temperatures. Use a food thermometer to make sure foods are safely cooked. Cook foods to the following internal temperatures:
- Steaks and roasts—63 degree celcius
- Fish—63 degree celcius.
- Pork—71 degree celcius
- Ground beef— 71 degree celcius.
- Egg dishes—71 degree celcius.
- Chicken breast—74 degree celcius
- Whole poultry—74 degree celcius.
- Reheat hotdogs until steaming hot or 74 degree celcius
- Properly wrap and refrigerate foods promptly. Refrigerate or freeze leftover foods within one hour to limit growth of bacteria.
- Set the refrigerator between 34º F and 40º F.
- Keep the freezer set to 0–2º F or below.
- Thaw frozen meat and poultry in the refrigerator, microwave, or cold water.
- Do not leave it out on the kitchen counter.
- Pay attention to food product expiration dates. If in doubt, throw it out.
By practicing all these food safety tips, cancer patient would be able to prevent and reduce infection.
Source: Centre for Disease Control (CDC) 2020 Safety tips.