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Gullet (oesophagus) cancer

A support group for anyone affected by gullet cancer (also known as oesophageal cancer) to come together, share experiences and ask questions.

Food Suggestions through treatment

Posted by

Hi everyone

My dad has just had a diagnosis of oesophageal cancer and is now going through the process of further tests and scans before he begins chemo.

He’s struggling to keep down food and has found that the only things he can eat are cottage pie with gravy, soups and scrambled egg. Does anyone have any suggestions of meals that I can make him now before his treatment starts but also foods that he might want to eat during chemo? I’m conscious that he might not have any appetite at all but I hate the thought of him wanting nice food and not being able to have it.

All suggestions would be really welcomed! x

Posted by

Hi Sue

Sorry to find you here and to hear about your dad.

The difficult thing is to maintain body weight during chemo. I lost a couple of stone at this stage. Obviously soft food like cottage pie will be easier to swallow than say chicken breast meat. My recommendation is to throw out the thought of healthy eating and go for high fat savouries, snacks and puddings. Sticky toffee pud and cream. Sausage rolls. Cream on anything, especially in soups. He will know which foods cause him the most problem; stuff like bread and some fruit. I could manage peanut butter on toast, surprisingly easily, with tea! Shortbread biscuits with raspberry purée (and cream). Bananas and custard...

One hopes that eating will be easier during and after chemo, but of course he may feel nauseous and have less of an appetite. My tastes changed during chemo, I started drinking tea again after 50 years avoiding it!

So there’s no one answer to your question, everyone is an individual. But my recommendation would be indulgent food (which tends to be high calorie) , in fact anything he fancies!

So good luck finding treats for him, and I hope chemo is a smoother ride than either you or he are fearing.

Counting the days, making every day count.


Posted by

Hi ,

Apart from echoing what  says, I would give your dad what he likes with the maximum calories in. For example when I was on chemo (FLOT) last year (2 cycles of 4 treatments each; on pre one post surgery) I drank a lot of coke and only drank the full fat (original) version. The fizzy drink helped me when food got stuck. I found that when I stopped eating meat and fish (I went vegetarian) I stopped being sick, but still felt sick. I lost my sense of taste and even water tasted unpleasant, so I added flavouring to water. I used strong flavours (e.g. curry, marmite, etc.) and bought cans of tinned fruit in sugar. I lost a couple of stone through my treatment, but am now in remission and having to watch my weight! but this is due to me being on steroids.

Wishing your dad a full and speedy recovery that we have had.