Research into diet and peritoneal cancer is limited. However, a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar may be beneficial.

Peritoneal cancer is a form of cancer that affects the peritoneum, a thin layer of tissue that lines the abdominal cavity and internal organs. It is not common, with around about 7 cases occurring per million people.

Females around the ages of 56–62 may have a higher risk of developing peritoneal cancer. According to one study, it may occur due to mutation within certain genes, such as the BRCA gene.

This article discusses peritoneal cancer and diet, including different food groups that may benefit a person with peritoneal cancer. It also explores foods to limit for someone with the disease.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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No single food or diet can prevent or cause peritoneal cancer, but a person’s dietary choices may affect their overall health while living with or recovering from the condition.

There is limited research on dietary choices specific to people with peritoneal cancer. However, a person may refer to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025 for general information about maintaining a nutritious diet.

A medical team, including an oncologist and a dietitian, may also provide more specific nutrition advice according to an individual’s overall health, outlook, and other factors.

Nutrition resources

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An older 2015 study found that a high intake of fruits and vegetables may help lower a person’s risk of several common cancers. Similarly, 2020 research suggests that there is an association between an insufficient intake of fruits and vegetables and a person’s risk of developing cancer.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines state that eating a plant-based diet may provide anticancer effects, including:

People with peritoneal cancer may consider including fruits and vegetables, such as the following, in their diet:

Cancer resources

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Alongside fruits and vegetables, whole grains contain naturally occurring nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.

According to a 2020 systematic review of 17 studies, consuming 90 grams of whole grains per day may help reduce a person’s cancer mortality risk by 20%.

An individual with peritoneal cancer may consider eating whole grains or foods containing whole grains such as:

As with other cancer types, a diet with insufficient amounts of protein may lower disease resistance and lengthen recovery time for people with peritoneal cancer. This is because the body may begin to break down the protein in the muscles instead.

The ACS notes that people with cancer often need more protein than usual after treatment to heal tissues and help fight infection. Additionally, it states that proteins can help a person’s body:

Some sources of protein a person with peritoneal cancer may consider eating include:

A 2020 study showed that consumption of plant monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), mainly from olive oil, has links to a lower risk of cancer.

According to the ACS, fats and oils can serve as a source of energy for the body. They can also help insulate body tissues and transport some types of vitamins through the bloodstream. The ACS recommends choosing polyunsaturated fatty acids and MUFAs over trans or saturated fats.

Some examples of fat sources someone with peritoneal cancer may include in their diet include:

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025 suggests that people should limit their consumption of alcoholic beverages and foods and beverages that contain high amounts of:

A person living with or recovering from peritoneal cancer can also speak with a healthcare professional for further guidance about what to include or limit in their diet.

Diet may have an impact on a person’s overall health while they live with and recover from peritoneal cancer. Plant-based diets rich in fruits, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats may be beneficial.

Conversely, a diet high in added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat may lead to more negative health outcomes.

People with peritoneal cancer should speak with a medical team, including a dietitian and an oncologist, for specific dietary recommendations.