Feeding During Radiotherapy For Throat Cancer?

Discussion in 'Cancer, Degenerative Diseases' started by Mellow, May 25, 2019.

  1. Mellow

    Mellow Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2015
    Messages:
    8
    My mother was recently diagnosed with throat cancer, and will soon undergo the six weeks of radiotherapy (bad enough, although thankfully no chemo on top).

    Treatment will start soon, and in the weeks prior to treatment she has been taking some actions - cutting out all PUFA, taking some aspirin, niacinamide, b-vitamins, liver etc to try and support her now and into treatment.

    The concern I have now is good nutrition during treatment. It's pretty much certain than saliva production will temporarily stop at some point during treatment, mouth aperture will reduce, ability to chew will be restricted, etc. She needs to maintain weight (for the fit of the mask), but also good nutrition to support immune system, and help stave off some of the damage done by the radiotherapy. My worry is what kind of things we will consistently be able to prepare for her, that will support immune system, that she is physically capable to eat.

    We have prepared chicken liver in almost liquid form, with a kind of tomato sauce, and hopefully she can eat/drink that. I wondered about milk, orange juice, even melted ice cream in the case that chewing and swallowing get difficult. However I have read that some people undergoing treatment can have a complete aversion to sweet things due to sensitivity of teeth during the treatment, so trying to have as many options as possible.

    My question was primarily if anyone had any experience of this with friends / family, and knew options which might work? Or. secondarily, even if no experience, and suggestions for what would be good and workable during such treatment?

    The health service backup option is 'nutrition' delivered via a pipe through the nose, or alternatively punched directly into the stomach. Physically would prefer to avoid those if possible, but primarily becuase the main ingredient of the "nutritional food" is 'blend of vegetable oils! :-( I presume she will already have a suppessed immune system at some point due to morphine, then radiation - adding PUFAs as primary source of calories I'm really hoping to avoid.
     
  2. redsun

    redsun Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2018
    Messages:
    834
    Gender:
    Male
    Scrambled eggs done in a way where they are still incredibly soft, soft processed meats that are easy to eat, such as liverwurst, other things you can find at the grocery store like chorizo or sausages, hotdog type foods which are soft, contain protein(even though primarily they have much more fat), and easy to eat. Liquid calories are an option. Potentially very soft cheeses if dairy is tolerated.

    The importance here is not to rely on peaty foods so much as you need to rely on foods that are calorie dense and easy to eat to prevent severe weight loss and the complications involved with it. Some peaty foods are easy to eat, I wouldnt bother with liquidizing chicken liver, sounds unappetizing, just plain liverwurst is a better option. I would not restrict food to pure Peat approved, that would be unadvised. Calories are important at this time and vitamins and minerals can also be supplemented along with already what is in foods.

    Also fresh unprocessed meats cooked and then softened with a mallet or shredded up.
     
  3. sugarbabe

    sugarbabe Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Messages:
    2,747
    My 96 years old Grandpa lived for 6 months after diagnosis and treatment of a throat tumor. He had a few treatments for it and would always get really bad after each treatment as his body had to deal with the after effects. He could still chew and eat but was living on applesauce and bread a lot. He didn't want to treat aggressively because he wanted to just live out the rest of his life. He passed in his sleep at home. If she is wanting to live a lot longer after treatment then I would strongly suggest getting plenty of nutrition in any way you possibly can. Juices will be huge to get the sugars in, I recommend apple or grape, OJ can be too acidic unless absolutely ripe and fresh. Milk if she tolerates it well. Ice cream is great.
     
  4. OP
    Mellow

    Mellow Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2015
    Messages:
    8
    Thanks everyone for responses so far. Certainly goal is for her to live out her life, 10 years or more. Her mother passed away 15 years older than she is now, so that's goal one.
    The liquidised chicken liver is not simply that - it's cooked and mixed with other ingredients to make a palatable flavour, and texture can be controlled right down to a paste if need be.
    Priority 1 is calories, 2 is nutrients, and 3 is to avoid rubbish if at all possible. Hopefully we can do okay.
     
  5. morgan#1

    morgan#1 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Messages:
    295
    Gender:
    Female
Loading...