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eating

baughman
Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2006

Hi,
My husband has not started his treatment yet and does not see the oncologist until Tuesday. For the past month he has been eating barely 500 cal. a day which doesn't seem to alarm anyone but me. The liver cancer which metasisized from the lung cancer is causing him pain when he eats.
HELP. Anyone have any suggestions????
Bruce's wife

cabbott
Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

Since eating causes pain, I would try small servings of nutrious, calorie dense stuff that he likes. We made egg custards, milk shakes, french toast with maple syrup, rice puddings, and such for my father-in-law along with Ensure in every flavor when he was losing weight after colon cancer surgery. Small frequent meals seemed to lessen the pain with eating. The doctor said to avoid any gas producing or spicy foods too. (That may have had a lot to do with his particular surgery, but I would guess that anything pushing on the liver right now may be distressing to your husband too). Soft foods that were easily digested seemed to be better for him like mashed potatoes or squash casserole, but he hated looking at a full plate. They have a new drug from a synthetic cannabinoid that works to combat pain and increase appetite without the side effects of marijuanna that I read about on the net a week ago. The article said that the research showed it to be equal or superior to marijuana (but I've read some people try that too with some success). Adequate pain control can help too since that affects apetite. Calories from liquids count too and drinks may go down easier than food for some folks. Experiment with temperature as well as kind. My father-in-law could tolerate lukewarm water but not cold nor hot. Soda made bubbles that caused pain, but flat soda or sugared tea that wasn't too cold was okay through a straw. If Bruce likes milkshakes, you might try Ensure or Boast with icecream and a scoop of protein powder from the health food store. My mom, a retired nurse, said they used to slip eggs into milkshakes a long time ago, but these days raw eggs may carry salmonilla (food poisening) and you don't want to go there. Your oncologist may be able to give you a referral to a nutrionalist that can suggest specific recipes to help your husband more.

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hello baughman,

500 calories are much too low to sustain the body weight of a man. The standard requirement is 2000 calories for adults. You also need to take into consideration the protein needs for his weight.

With that said, an easy way to get huge calories from one tablespoon alone is olive oil. It has 120 calories. Plus, olive oil is often cited for its omega-3 content and monosaturated fats. Just don't overdo it.

Along that line, I think peanut butter is a fantastic option as it is both a good protein and vitamin E source. I don't have the calories of a peanut butter serving but nuts are always high-caloric foods. Peanuts contain more monosaturated fats than poly, which is a healthy quality. I would suggest making peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwiches on whole wheat bread. Raspberry has the highest concentration of ellagic acid, which may help in promoting cancerous cell destruction.

I'm still on the fence about the role of sugar with cancer cells (mainly from paranoia than sound reasoning), so I opt for the sugar-free raspberry jams made with Splenda. If you don't want to go that route, you can get the reduced sugar which is cheaper.

You may have to experiment with foods that your husband can tolerate. Try bland foods such as rice.

Good luck to Bruce.

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

I forgot to mention to get the natural peanut butter made without hydrogrenated oils as regular peanut butter has. Hydrogenated oils have trans fats which are unhealthy even where cancer isn't involved. They raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol. And I took a look at the nutrition label on a peanut butter jar and found that a serving has 210 calories. That should jumpstart your husband's caloric intake.

I don't know if your husband's liver has a difficult time processing proteins, but you may want to try different protein sources than from meats. Tofu is another good protein source than peanut butter. There are studies that the genistein in soy products may inhibit cancer growth. Before I was concerned that the phytoestrogens may promote breast cancer for post-menopausal women, but that may be more for women with susceptibility to bc because of genetics or high-fat diet or other risk factors. I just won't overdo it for my mom. The recommendation is either a cup of soy milk or 1/2 cup of tofu a day.

I hope the suggestions work for your husband. As with anything, you should run it by your husband's oncologist. Good luck again.

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