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Soreness to esophegus after radiation.

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2010

I finished radiation treatments about 5 weeks ago. I am still having a lot of trouble swallowing, liquids imparticular. I have to be careful when drinking not to asperate.

I also am having trouble eating. If it doesn't hurt going down it burns like you know what when it hits bottom. My doctor keeps telling me that this will go away, which I believe it will, the only problem is that I have gone from 200lbs. in January to 140lbs now. I am so weak now that I can barley walk from room to room.

This is what worries me, am I going to have problems from malnutrition or do I listen to the doctor and wait it out?

I am so hungry that the dog is starting to looke good. Any advice would really be appreciated.

Hoping to survive this mess.

PS, they said the tumor has shrunk about 75% since it was discovered.

stayingcalm's picture
Posts: 654
Joined: Feb 2007


Getting your weight back to a good level is hard when it hurts to eat. Puddings, (Boost has a lot of nutrients to help you get back in shape), ice cream, yogurt, Ensure milkshakes, ice pops, these are all good and cause the least pain. Please spare the dog, I don't think the hair would go down well :)

Edit - and congratulations on the diminishing tumor!

Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 2006

I too suffered from not being able to eat or drink due to extreme pain in esophagus. after several months I finally saw a gastroenterologist who scooped me and found several ulcers on my esophagus along with thickening due to radiation. He put me on a soft, liquid diet for 2 wks. cream of wheat very thin, soft boiled egg, egg custard, soft mashed potato, potato soup without lumps, carnation instant breakfast was good. use the magic mouthwash if it helps.by the 3rd wk I was able to tolerate other things in tiny increments. take it easy as it will improve slowly. I was down to 114lbs from 150. I slowly gained the weight back, plus.
I was put on Nexium during that time and am still on it. as I recall the gasto doc prescribed a lo dose morphine patch which helped. it took about one year to feel like my old self again. it does get better so don't give up. take one day at a time.
hope this helps you

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2010

I try to eat this kind of food but it burns going down. I have tries Marion's Magic Potion with no luck. I also swallow a lot of air with liquids and solids alike. Then by the end of the day I feel like I have a lump at the top of my throat and eventually I throw up. Any advice on that?


medi_2's picture
Posts: 509
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Dewing, Aside from the burning from radiation (luckily mine was not severe) acid reflux can also cause burning, the 'lump' feeling and throwing up. I get it in spurts; I take antacids and don't eat before bed. Maybe check with your doc on what kind is best for you.
Good Luck!

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2010

I sure know what you are going thru with the swallowing. I too had the same problem after my third week of seven radiation treatments. I actually became dehydrated and wasn't able to eat enough to avoid anemia. After a couple of trips to the hospital I was able to start eating Ramen noodles and scrambled eggs. I also was able to eat chicken noodle soup and tolerate it pretty well.
I now am able to swallow with few problems and and eating most anything I want. It seems it took about six weeks after my last radiation treatment for my swallowing to return to normal. Hang in there it will get better or at least it did for me. The magic mouthwash didnt work for me...

Posts: 13
Joined: Sep 2009

My mom dealt with the same thing. She is almost 3 months post radiation and she has always been so thin we were scared of this side effect. She weighs at the most 95 lbs and so it was my mission to keep her eating and gaining weight.

A few of the things we did...
I made many batches of homemade mashed potatoes with a lot of full fat butter and milk. It was bland and went down smooth. We also made a lot of carrots and drenched them in butter - a plus was vitamins and fat! She was able to tolerate all plain chicken and chicken soup with mild seasoning. Luckily she loves bread and butter, so we bought her fresh loaves of bread all the time and made sure she had some bread and butter with lunch and dinner. She did eat cream of wheat through chemo and radiation, and that's another thing you can load up with butter and maybe even top with a little brown sugar.

I was very persistent that she take a supplement called whey protein. If you're not sure what it is, it is a protein powder that you can get and mix it into things to gain weight. Of course always ask your dr before trying anything. She didn't like it that much but knew she needed to keep her weight up. It is a lot of protein per serving and you can mix it into things like the mashed potatoes, milk, ice cream, Wendy's frostys and milkshakes. At a certain point we were filling my mom up with anything that had loads of calories.

This weekend is 2.5 months since she finished radiation and she was able to eat a mild spaghetti sauce. Even if you can't eat sauce, you can make pasta and then put butter and parm cheese on top and that tastes great. We also used alfredo sauce from a suggestion I picked up here.

It will ease up eventually. My mom still takes an acid reducer, but she manages. Hang in there and think of all the fattening stuff you might be able to tolerate and eat it! Good luck!

Posts: 31
Joined: May 2010

Hi dewing57,
I just went thru massive info for all of my fathers treatments and we are at a UPMC of Pittsburgh PA's Cancer Center, they have told him repeatedly that the soarness will come on as the radiation goes along,(NSCLC -tumor in top of lung ) and that as soon as he feels ANY pain to immediately let them know because they have medications to relieve that. That eating is massively important in keeping up your immune system and health. Great news on the reduction of your tumor, but I feel there is more to be offered to help you eat. Ice cream and liquids count, but I'm sure solids would make you happy too. I'm unsure what medication they provide here @ UPMC, but I can ask when we go back next week. Maybe your doc isn't up on all the patient comfort meds these high tech facilities have?
Hang in there, please don't eat the dog.
Prayers your way.....

Posts: 18
Joined: Mar 2010

I am having issues with swallowing as well. I completed radiation about 3 weeks ago. I tried so many of these suggestions and some worked, some didn't. The Magic Mouthwash doesn't last long and it upset my stomach. My doc prescribed me liquid loritab along with 600 mg ibuprofen 3x a day, which last longer. It taste awful, but it works. I am now only taking the ibuprofen. What I can swallow easily and what is difficult is so bizarre. I can not eat red meat at all, I vomit. Same with protein drinks like Boost and Ensure, even Carnation Instant Breakfast drinks. Anything cold gives me a "brainfreeze" in my chest. However, if I take very small bites of yogurt or ice cream (just enough on the tip of the spoon), I can get it down without pain. I eat jello, waffles, applesauce and rice ALOT! I also drink 2-3 2oz of aloe juice every day. I try to take it before each meal. It coats the throat and also helps with constipation. As for acid reflux, as someone else said, don't eat before bedtime. I had it real bad for about a week and found if I did not lay down for at least 1/2 hour after eating, it helped. That can be challenging when you are facing tiredness as well, but it will help. You can also try drinking through a straw, it helped me as well.
I don't know the results of all my treatments yet, but I congratulate you on the shrinking. I am hopeful for favorable results which I will get at the end of the month.
Please don't eat the dog, you'll get indigestion for sure with all that hair! Hang in there and know we are all pulling for you and this too shall end.
Best of luck

Posts: 31
Joined: May 2010

okay...here's what I found out. Depending on your DR. the UPMC cancer center of PGH does provide oxy for the PAIN. Here's a tip Nat, ibuprofen is NOT the best thing for your stomach.It can add to the acid reflux. We were told Tylenol. But ask your dr first. Bananas mash up, and are sweet. All Boost is aweful unless chilled. Try one of those foam wedges to prop yourself up after eating if you need to rest.Cottage cheese. soups. (Mild broths) try eggs, They have a decent protein amount. Scrambled, egg salad. Etc. My dad says if I see another egg- but we just make it some other way- add cheese. You HAVE to eat. We need to get you folks stronger. Mashed potatoes are awesome, to my dad. Mac n cheese ( Bob Evans or Stouffers) lots of sauce, goes down easier.let it cool a bit. rice pudding. I wish I could cook for you folks too. My dad never thanks us. Bless you & hope something here helped.
We were told - if he can eat chopped up hot dogs & baked beans- let him eat it. It takes some getting creative.
best luck to you both!

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2010

We're experiencing the same problems (swallowing and burning sensation). My doctor has put me on TPN (total parenteral nutrition), i.e., feeding through IV. This is a home care service where a nurse will come to your home to do initial set up. This way, I am still able to take in minimum amount of nutrients.

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