When do you "STOP" eating because of Radiation?

Sorry it has been a while since posting. My Dad has had his ups and downs. Certain health issues have come to light, and are being address as long with the SCCHN. Turns out that he has had several serious infections (the doctors think that he has had the infections longer than the cancer). He is being treated for everything at the same time, so he is really getting he **** kicked.

He just finished Radiation Treatment #15 on Friday... Leaving 4 more weeks left. He can still eat soft foods, but the pain is kicking in big time. His goal is to continue eating throughout the treatment... so far so good.

For those out there who lost the ability to eat... When did that happen?

Thank you,


  • Daddisgrl
    Daddisgrl Member Posts: 116
    For my hub; it was where
    For my hub; it was where you're at now. He had thrush; ended up admitted for 4 days & didn't eat after that. I'd heard that Actic pops were the best for pain & asked for them but they would not prescribe them until later on & it's a shame they waited because I feel had he had it sooner; he may have kept eating. Google them. They're made for cancer pain. We didn't have luck with the patch- which I've also had for my back pain- but the pops were the magic pain killer.
  • longtermsurvivor
    longtermsurvivor Member Posts: 1,842 Member
    My answer is only what's right for me
    I've had radiation twice. The first time was 35 sessions in 1998. I had no eating problems, beyond low apetite and no taste, and ate solid food all the way through. I lost a bunchof weight, but it reversed afterwards.

    This time, I am on day 20 of a planned 34. I've had thrush. That was successfully treated with Diflucan. In the last few days, my tongue has gotten pretty sore. I can handle that. But my swallowing is suddenly pretty weak. I'm just able to eat a few soft foods, and almost all my calories are now through liquid supplements.

    I'm ok with that, and even if i have to crush me medicines up rather than swallow the pills (I can just barely get them down) I can live with that. I've done it before, and it isn't that big a deal.

    BUT, if I start loosing weight, or dehydrating, I'll get a PEG inserted instantly. After all, the end of radiation is not the end of the swallowing problem.

    That's what I'm going to do, FWIW.


  • Skiffin16
    Skiffin16 Member Posts: 8,305 Member
    It Can Vary..
    I didn't have a PEG so starting about where he is, I started taking in only Ensure Plus, water and a few DelMonte Sliced Peaches in Light Syrup (to keep the swallow muscles working)...

    I'd use the numbing solution (for me Larry's #2) to numb the throat for a few minutes, big glass of water, two Ensures, a few peaches, more water and then a ground up Percocet in water for the pain to come. That was my daily regime (several times a day) for about 6 - 7 weeks.

    I'd also take a warm shower after eash feeding...what ever reason, the warm/hot water would help with my pain management....

    I went to the Ensure Plus mainly for the calories compared to trying to eat enough through the pain of solid/liquid food. Ensure Plus offered so much more for so little effort and pain.

    Everyone is different and heal/respond as such....

  • robinleigh
    robinleigh Member Posts: 297
    Peg tube
    Does he have a peg tube just in case his plan to keep eating falls short? I had to really press the issue to get one just in case because my husband did not have extra weight to lose.

    Thank goodness for supplemental nutrition drinks, milkshakes, and smoothies!
  • ratface
    ratface Member Posts: 1,337 Member

    Peg tube
    Does he have a peg tube just in case his plan to keep eating falls short? I had to really press the issue to get one just in case because my husband did not have extra weight to lose.

    Thank goodness for supplemental nutrition drinks, milkshakes, and smoothies!

    somewhere around week 6??
    the pain just became unbearable and I went to the feeding tube for the next month or so. I started back to eating by drinking the supplements. If the radiation is concentrated on one side he may be able to slip something past on the opposite side. Both sides typically get some degree of radiation near the end of treatment just to make sure they get it all. The less damaged side will come back first. I lost around 40 lbs during the ordeal. Nutrition is key and is documented to be the biggest problem with cancer survival so you are prudent to stay on top of it.
  • Hal61
    Hal61 Member Posts: 655
    Didn't know there was an option
    Hi Margaret, as mentioned, I don't know if your father has a peg, but I'm assuming he doesn't, because your question is not so important if he already has a peg tube.

    I didn't know not having one was an option. My three docs all said, get a peg before you start treatment. I hadn't been on this site at this time, so I didn't know there was a choice.

    I could swallow, and could have eaten soft foods throuughout treatment, many here have, and some simply can't. I't tell you what I've heard from others though, food gets to be so unpleasant to eat, or drink, that I was glad I had the tube. I made sure I was drinking lots of water, kept the swallowing going.

    luck to your dad, and you
  • sweetblood22
    sweetblood22 Member Posts: 3,228
    Time frame of when I could no longer eat.
    You did not say if he has a Peg Tube or not. I had mine put in on 3/15/09 and then started radiation 4/6/09. I ate my last meal for a looooong time on 4/19/09. I also have an issue with wording. I hate it when people say I stopped eating, or refused to eat, or that I wouldn't eat, like I had some kind of choice in the matter. :-/ Sorry, just a pet peeve. I realize that is probably why you put "stopped", in quotes. Lol.

    Hope that your dad has manageable side effects and that he is able to keep eating. I also hope that he didn't refuse a peg tube or anything like that, if it was recommended to him. I was dead set against it, thank God I listened and got one.