Why do I need advice on what I should eat?

Following a bone marrow transplant or a peripheral blood stem cell transplant you will develop a low white blood cell count (neutropenia). White blood cells normally help to fight the organisms that cause infection. Being neutropenic means that you are more susceptible to infection.

Your immune system will become weakened (immuno-suppressed) by the drugs used for the transplant. If you have received Campath treatment your immune system will become weakened.

Many of the foods we eat contain small amounts of bacteria or fungi, for most people this is not a problem. If you are neutropenic or immunosuppressed these can prove harmful and may lead to infections. There is no reason however, why you cannot continue to enjoy food and maintain a healthy diet whilst you are receiving treatment.

Foods can be divided into 2 categories;

Higher Risk Foods: Foods where there is a clear risk of infection and are therefore to be avoided.

Lower Risk Foods: Foods which are considered safer to eat as long as they have been stored, handled and served appropriately (see Nutrition leaflet at the bottom of this page).


How long will I need to keep to this restricted diet?

You will need to keep to this diet for 3-6 months following your transplant or until you are taken off immuno-suppressive therapy; your consultant will clarify this with you.

What if something I want to eat isn’t on the list?

If you are unsure about whether something is safe to eat or not, please ask your dietician or a member of your healthcare team for advice.

For further information click on the link to the Nutrition leaflet from the Yorkshire Cancer Network.

Download PDF


This is a Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research leaflet.

Download PDF

These two leaflets are from Leeds Teaching Hospitals:

Download PDF


Download PDF

Go to the top of the page

Print this page