Pancreas cancer is known as the silent killer. This catastrophic cancer is almost always a fatal diagnosis, and reeks havoc on the digestive tract.
Many early and late stage patients experience excruciating acid reflux, nausea, and gastric pain. Many times, doctors prescribe many different medications to help. Some are appetite enhancers; others are drugs to reduce the acid content of the stomach. The problem is that these prescription drugs without a prescription are all oral. Since the pancreas cancer patient is unable to swallow or keep food down, many times the pills are almost useless.
How can I help my loved one to keep their food down?
Although a high-fat diet is not recommended, including oil or butter in the patient’s diet can sometimes help the pancreas cancer sufferer swallow much more easily. This lubrication also aids in digestion. Another tip to help the food go down the throat is massaging the throat. Many patients find that rubbing the front of their throat gently helps to guide the food down. If the patients are unable to do it themselves while swallowing, rub their throat lightly in a circular motion. It is amazing how much a light massage of this area can help the food make its way down the throat to the esophagus.
To keep the food down, be sure the diet is very soft. The food should be easy to digest and free from a lot of acid. Please keep in mind that you should consult with your doctor about the patient’s diet before using any of these foods. Some good menu choices are listed below. Please understand that much trial and error will go into your loved one’s diet. Sometimes certain foods bother one patient but not others.
FOODS TO TRY:
Soups, fruit sorbet, well-cooked pasta, baked potatoes, yogurt, rice, sherbet, cream of wheat, cream of rice, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, yams, poached eggs, lightly scrambled eggs (with milk), pudding, Jell-O, ice-cream, peanut butter, frozen yogurt, toast, applesauce, well-cooked squash, and small quantities of meat.
Another food that many people seem to overlook is baby food. The desserts and cereals are very tasty, and they are made to be very gentle on the tummy. These are really great for a change of pace. In some cases, the patient even prefers these easy to digest foods. This is because they go down easy and stay down.
FOODS TO AVOID:
Avoid citrus fruits and juices like oranges and grapefruit. The increased stomach acid will cause nausea, heartburn, and acid indigestion. Very hard to digest vegetables that can cause gas should also be avoided. Some of these include tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, lettuce, green peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, and any other vegetables that may bother the patient. Greasy foods like hamburgers and fries should not be in the pancreas cancer patient’s diet. Seeds and nuts should also be avoided. These would include bread with poppy seeds and sesame seeds. All of these foods can cause much stomach pain and discomfort.
Keep in mind that every person is different, and everyone has different likes and dislikes. This must also be taken into consideration. Many times the patient knows best. If he or she tells you that something makes them sick, listen! Be sure that the patient eats as much as they can of whatever foods that they can tolerate and enjoy. Pancreas cancer is a painful and debilitating cancer, hopefully these eating tips will help you to make your loved one much more comfortable.