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Diet and exercise after ALL

Tips on what you should and shouldn't eat and the exercise that can be helpful after ALL. 

Lifestyle after ALL treatment

Many people ask us about what they should eat and what exercise they can do after they have had treatment. Exactly what you can do will vary and depends on the treatment you have had and how fit you were before your leukaemia. This page gives you some idea about where to start.

If you have had a stem cell or bone marrow transplant, have a look in the life after transplant section for specific advice.

Diet and ALL

Diet plays an important part in coping with cancer and its treatment. A good, well balanced diet can help you feel stronger, have more energy, and recover more quickly.

After treatment, most people can eat whatever they want. While you are having treatment, you might have lost weight. Or steroids might have made you put on weight. Weight loss might be due to the side effects of your treatment including loss of appetite, taste changes, sickness, a sore mouth and diarrhoea.

If you still find it difficult to eat, you can try high calorie and high protein drinks. You might have had these drinks during treatment. Once your treatment has finished though, you should begin to feel better and be able to eat a normal diet. This can take a while after intensive treatment.

After being diagnosed with cancer, many people look at their diet and make changes, deciding to choose healthier options. For example:

  • eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
  • eating less fat and salt
  • drinking alcohol within the guidelines - the maximum is 2 units a day for women and 3 units for men

Exercise and ALL

Exercise is a great way to help you feel better, both physically and emotionally. But don’t overdo it. How much you can do will depend on how fit you are and how you feel. You will probably have days when you don’t have so much energy. Listen to your body and build up slowly.

Gentle walking is suitable for most people to start with. Once your white blood count is back to normal and you don’t have a central line any more, you can go swimming (you can swim with a portacath). Taking regular exercise can help to reduce tiredness (fatigue) after treatment.

Last reviewed: 
19 May 2015
  • Cancer and its management 6th Edition, Tobias and others. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010

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