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Nutritional Supplement Help-Mouth, Neck Cancer

Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2009

First time on here...and looking for some help for my dad. About a year ago he found out he had a tumor under his tongue. They removed the tumor and did a neck dissection to rebuild the floor of his mouth. The cancer came back and the second time around they placed a titanium plate with a few screws in the floor of his mouth. At this time they removed all of his lymph nodes and he started radiation. The cancer came back again and actually broke his jaw in half on the left side of his mouth. They finally last month removed the plate and screws and most of his teeth on the left side of his mouth. But only after the plate and screws worked their way out on their own leaving a whole in his chin on the left side about the size of a dime. Needless to say he isn't able to eat anymore and is strictly using Ensure nutritional drinks for his nourishment. This is so expensive. He is using about 10-12 cans of Ensure every day, and spending on average, about $9 per 6 pack. Does anyone know if there is any support group or agency that would help offset the costs?

carolinagirl67's picture
Posts: 153
Joined: Jul 2009

Hey there,

My husband is getting ready to start treatment on Monday for Tonsil Cancer. I had the same question because he uses ensure now and it is really expensive. My sister is an RN who does mostly Home Health Care and she said that when you get to the point that you need it more, to have your DR write you a prescription for the medical brand and either your insurance or Medicare will pay for it. I hope that helps. My prayers are with your Dad and your family.

God Bless,


soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

You might check out the following, in addition to the great advice you got from carolinagirl (this from a virginiaboy :)):


This site is put up by the National Institute of Health or some such, and is government-supported. TereB has responded in other discussion areas with some excellent suggestions, and they may apply for you as well. I am taking the liberty of copying and pasting them as well:

Cancer Care, a non-profit org., offers free support and counseling for cancer patients by oncology social workers. They have face-to-face counseling and counceling on the phone. Support groups on the phone are available too and are moderated by an oncology social worker. Call 800-813-HOPE. They can also give you info about financial resources. Check their website: www.cancercare.org

American Cancer Society (here) can also give you financial, support, etc. information available in different cities.

In addition, you might talk to dad's nutritionist (he should have one, and if he doesn't, you should insist that he get one) about substituting other, more conventional brands for the Ensure. I have been told that things like Carnation's Breakfast Essentials can replace, at least in part, the Ensure/Boost stuff.

There may be other options as well, depending on what he CAN get down. Broths and things like tomato soup and various cream of whatever should be easy enough if he can get Ensure down, for example, and will add some variety. They are at least worth experimenting with.

A good nutritionist will have some other outstanding ideas, I am sure. Fruit drinks, maybe milk shakes and smoothies, even.

Hope this helps.

Best wishes to dad and his family.

Take care,


pattynonews's picture
Posts: 176
Joined: Aug 2009

My husband, no longer eats my mouth due to his cancer, they put a peg tube in an we feed him through that, he was on boost for a while but after talking to his case manager at the cancer center and the nutrients they put him on iso-source which his insurance covers, once he got the peg tube all his food was covered, we also use what is called Super Foods which you buy at the grocery store, and if your father has cancer, in most states they will give food stamps for him and the boost is covered under food stamps, we are learning as we go, We just have a problem keeping the weight on him , I do buy a powder at GNC that I mix with his nutrient drink that helps add calories

I hope this helps

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