Almost every oesophageal cancer patient will suffer some sort of change to their eating patterns during and after their treatment. Every patient is different, but here are some things that may help you cope with the changes.
- Solid foods - After surgery it is very difficult to eat solid food. Some patients find that even after several weeks they cannot eat anything solid. To ease you back into a normal routine, try having soft foods such as mince, mashed potato, cheese and fruit smoothies.
- Swallowing - It is crucially important to take your time and chew everything thoroughly before swallowing, to make eating as easy as possible for you. It sounds strange, but you may wish to eat by yourself so that you can concentrate properly on eating, and are not distracted by talking. If you find that you have a piece of food "stuck" in your throat, try taking a small amount of a fizzy drink such as lemonade to free it.
- When to eat - After surgery you will find that you simply cannot eat a three course meal. The trick is to eat little and often. Take on food whenever you can, but don't attempt too much.
- What to eat - Chemotherapy and surgery often have an impact on your taste buds. Things that used to make your mouth water can make your stomach turn. Don't torture yourself - try something else instead. Be adventurous and keep sampling until you find something that takes your fancy.
If you are really struggling to eat, try putting some protein supplements in a drink, to give you some added energy and nourishment. Guinness is also good for building you up a little, but make sure you check with your doctor that it is ok to drink alcohol.
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