Not able to drink, food regurgitate..Is this normal?! We need diet/ nutrition advise for 1st chemo treatment of oesophageal cancer

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Dear team

i need desperate advice as it seems no way can resolve the the eating problem.

my partner had his 1st chemo last week for his oesophageal cancer. Initially everything went well but after 72hours, he is not able to eat even with soups. He denied difficulties in swallowing but the food regurgitate & he needed to force himself to drink. He takes a hour to have One mouthful Ensure drink

we spoken to consultant, they said it is normal as chemo inflame the oesophageal and advised us, we need to preserve it.

He has lost 5 kilo this week as he is struggling to get the food  & admitted twice to A& E due to dehydration!!

I just need to know how to deal with his condition… so everytime we contacted nurses or consultants they all said you need to preserve BUT look he can’t even swallow watery soup!!

  • hi Sheila
    not sure what to advise I haven’t started my treatment yet but I am still eating although very painful , have they given you any painkillers , I was given some oramorph last week for pain in my back and it has also helped with the chest pain when I’m eating , hopefully someone else on here can help you 

    jayne xx

  • Hi Shiela,

    Sorry to hear that your partner is going through this. What chemo regime is he receiving? Is it FLOT? If so, then what you are describing very much goes against my experience and that of many other people on this forum. I was having swallowing difficulties before my chemo but, after just the first round of FLOT, these disappeared and I was able to eat normally again. With some people, it maybe takes 2 or 3 rounds. There are things that can be done to allow him to receive nutrition. Get in touch with your specialist nursing team and keep pushing. Good luck

  • Thanks Jayne!

    He described like food didn’t go in stomach like cumulative in the food pipe & he regurgitate out…

  • Thanks Cool Blue

    many thanks for sharing yours experience. Yes it is a FLOT treatment.

    He described like food didn’t go in stomach but cumulate in the food pipe & he regurgitate out…even the liquid water. We keep on be informed this is normal & need to force him to drink the ENSURE…

    I just feel medical team are not listening to us… 

  • Hi. My clinical Nurse Specialist asked my Gp to prescribe Xantacaine. Its an antacid and local anaesthetic which you take 20 minutes before eating. It really helped me.

    As a note of encouragement, I found eating got easier after my second FLOT treatment,it had already begun to shrink my tumour.

    I've now had surgery and am about to start a second round of FLOT. Can't say I'm looking forward to that, the first lot was tough but I survived it so I can do it again.

    I hope your husband feels better soon and that you are managing to look after yourself a little bit too

  • Hi, 

    I'm sorry that you're both having to deal with this.

    Your husband needs a nasal feeding tube, now. This will get past the obstruction. The dietician should have mentioned this is an option. They should provide you with feeds and the pump to administer feed overnight.

    My husband had one of these fitted during his staging laparoscopy. He hated how it made him look sick, but it saved his life when he got to the point that he couldn't eat anything. There is also the option of having a PEG feeding tube fitted in his tummy if he is scheduled for any procedures they can do it at the same time, or as a separate small op.

    You need to explain how painful and distressing it is for both of you. The chemo nurses should be straight on it, when they see the weight loss.

    Is there an emergency contact number for chemo patients at your hospital?  If there is I would call this or call your clinical nurse specialist asap. Any weight he losses will be really hard to build back. I'm sorry I can't be of any more help, you're going to have to insist they do something.

    Best of luck, take care. Steph

  • Hi 

    I have a family member currently going through the treatment for oesophageal cancer. Went 3 weeks without eating so we are now in an NG tube to get nutrition in and it’s working wonders so far if you feel you have hit this stage push push push for help at the hospital.