No appetite to eat or drink due to chest pain before and post radiotherapy..

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My father is 80, he has just finished 10 days of radiotherapy for squamous cell oesophageal cancer.

He has lost so much weight and hardly eats or drinks anything due to the pain in his chest, throat

He has energy drinks from the hospital to make up to drink but says he's not hungry and the pain is too bad to drink them.

I've bought him specialised pureed foods, energy breakfast drinks and energy yogurts etc but he's in pain when trying to swallow

I feel lost on what to do. He doesn't want to call for help as he believes he will be forced to have a nasal feeding tube as

he che can't have a stomach one because he has an aeortic aneurysm that can not be operated on due to his other health issues.A

Any advise please x

  • Hi. I’m sorry I cannot advise on any alternative food types, I wish I could, but I hope your father does reach out to the professionals who may be able to offer advice and help, which may not be as bad as he is thinking. Thinking of you both, Julie

  • Hi there, 

    To provide some hope, in case there are any similarities for your Dad, my partner’s eating improved after the radiotherapy on his primary tumour. 

    Like your Dad, it was incredibly difficult whilst my partner was having the radiotherapy; he could barely eat at all and it would take hours just to drink a glass of water. It was scary for him and watching him go through it was pretty traumatic as well. My partners take on it was that the radiotherapy was aggravating the tumour which was causing more challenges at the time. 

    Fast forward a few weeks once the radiotherapy had ended. And the improvement was immeasurable. He managed to eat for months without much discomfort and could eat solid food again too. In his case, although the cancer has spread to these areas, that main tumour has not grown which is a result of that treatment I believe. 

    So hang on in there and I hope there is some impriovrnt for your Dad once the treatment has ended. 

    in terms of foods in the interim, I don’t have more to add other than you are doing the right things. We rely on fortsips at those times, and as much liquid in any meals as possible. My partner likes different flavours to motivate him to eat but that’s quite a personal choice. I often got melt in the mouth type foods; aero bubbly style chocolate, Carr’s Melts which are cheese biscuits that are v light, cheese triangles, roulades with cream in - basically foods that disintegrate in the mouth and don’t really require swallowing have worked well to pack in some calories. 
    But when my partner was having the radiotherapy they were all still a big challenge. 

    i hope it follows the same path as my partner for your Dad and that he, and you, have some respite from this and improvement once the treatment has finished.