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Thread: Foods for radiation patients

  1. #1
    Regular User
    Join Date
    May 2011

    Question Foods for radiation patients

    Hello all,

    I normally post on the Lung Cancer forum, but because my friend is undergoing radiation near his esophagus, I wanted to reach out and see if someone had any insight. Below is the post I just posted on the Lung Cancer board as well as the Cancer Pain board. Any insight is really and truly appreciated.
    Hello all,

    As some of you know my dear friend is undergoing radiation right now (as well as chemo) and he hasn't been able to eat for about a week or so at this point. The blandest/softest of foods hurt going down because of the radiation side effects and sometimes can't even stay down in his stomach.

    Is there anything that you have tried that might work for him? We've done chicken soup (only works sometimes), rice (hurts going down), ice cream/shakes/protein drinks (all hurt), and pasta (hurts). Liquids can't be too hot, too cold; must be lukewarm and even water hurts going down.

    He has lost around 25 lbs because he is unable to eat. Next step is a feeding tube which he doesn't want. Between the awful pain from the radiation and the horrendous acid reflux it's also causing, nothing (not even liquid morphine) is taking away his pain or allowing him to eat. He has also tried the super mouthwash to no avail. His radiation has been stopped because of what the side effects are doing to his skin (it's raw and coming off).

    Any insight from those of you who have been there before is incredibly appreciated. It's so hard for me to watch him like this and not be able to do anything.


  2. #2
    Administrator Top User Kermica's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    New York
    Isabella, wow, what a terrible time your friend is having. From you description, it sounds like a feeding tube may be the best short term solution as he has to have nutrients in order to continue to fight his cancer. My brother in law had big time mount issues when he was fighting melanoma of the tongue, especially after surgery while radiation was ongoing. For a while, he could only tolerate room temp liquids and so he subsisted on a diet of cream soups (low sodium), protein drinks and the like. The key for him was to have them as near body temp as he could so there was no temperature differential when he was eating. Another thing he tried, with some success, was eating baby food.

    According to the National Cancer Institute's web site the strategies for eating while undergoing throat radiation include:

    * Choose foods that are easy to swallow.
    * Cut, blend, or shred foods to make them easier to eat.
    * Eat moist, soft foods such as cooked cereals, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs.
    * Wet and soften food with gravy, sauce, broth, yogurt, or other liquids.
    * Drink cool drinks.
    * Sip drinks through a straw.
    * Eat foods that are cool or at room temperature.

    I hope some of this is of some small help. Good luck to your friend, he is fortunate to have someone like you on his team.

    Good health,

    When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
    ~Author Unknown

    Age 66
    Follicular lymphoma diagnosed August 08, Stage 1
    2 cycles (20 treatments each) localized radiation to tumor sites. Remission confirmed July 09
    Restaged to Stage 3 May 2010
    Recurrence confirmed May 2010 - Watch and Wait commenced - multiple scans with minimal progression.
    Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma diagnosed September 2012. Mohs surgical excision 09/2012. Successful, clean edges all around.
    Significant progression detected in PET scan - December 2012
    Biopsy to check for transformation 1/18/2013 - negative for that but full of lymphoma, of course.
    July 2013 - Rescan due to progression shows one tumor (among many) very suspect for transformation, another biopsy 8/12/13.
    August 2013 - No evidence of transformation, 6 courses of B+R commence 8/29 due to "extensive, systemic disease".
    February 2014 - Diagnostic PET scan states: Negative PET scan. Previous noted hypermetabolic cervical, axillary, iliac and inguinal lymphadenopathy has resolved. Doctor confirms full remission.
    June 2014 - started 2 year maintenance Rituxan, 1 infusion every 3 months. Doctor confirms lump under right arm are "suspicious" for recurrent disease, deferring scans for now.
    February 2015 - Doc and I agreed to stop R maintenance as it is depressing my immune system too much.
    June 2015 - Confirm that the beast is back by physical exam, will scan in August after esophageal issues settle down so we can get a clear view.
    August 2015 - physical exam in error, PET/CT shows no evidence of disease. Remission continues well into second year!
    December 2015 - Cardiologist tells me I have plaque buildup growing at an alarming rate. Stent or bypass down the road but not yet...
    March 2016 - new tumor below the jaw so remission is over. Back to active surveillance until treatment is needed.
    June 2016 - C/T scan indicates presence of multiple lesions in iliac chain.
    August 2016 - PET/CT shows multiple areas of lymphoma as expected plus new areas of concern in bowel.
    January 2017 - C/T scan shows significant progression in cervical and inguinal lymph chains, largest tumor is impacting hearing, measures 2.1x4.6 cm. 4 to 8 cycles of R-CVP, 1x3weeks to commence 2/6/17.
    April 2017 - Mid treatment scan shows about 1/3 reduction in multiple tumors. Also shows abdominal aortic aneurysm with peripheral thrombus. Cardiologist changed meds, spoke of need for surgical repair down the road.
    September 2017 - finished 10 rounds of R-CP, V was stopped due to neuropathy in feet. No further treatment planned at this time, at least 10 tumors can be felt which seem to be growing again.

    December 2017 - Biopsy of external iliax node with SUV of 13.1 shows no transformation! However, the FL grade is now 3A instead of Gr 1-2. Will start indefinite protocol using Copanlisib, one of the new targeted therapies. I remain hopeful.


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