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Frequently Asked Questions


My husband has just been diagnosed with esophageal cancer that has already spread to his liver. I was wondering if you knew of any books that would help address the situation as he needs both calorically dense and soft foods that he can swallow until the tumor shrinks from the radiation therapy.

Thank you for writing with your very good question. I have listed a few suggestions below that come from several oncology registered dietitian (RD) colleagues who work on a daily basis with patients such as your husband.

However, I also recommend obtaining (insist if you need to!) a consultation with an RD at your husband's cancer center as soon as possible. Individualization of his nutrition requirements needs to be a proactive part of his comprehensive cancer care. Do not wait for your husband to lose weight before seeking the nutritional expertise of an RD at your cancer center. If your husband’s cancer center does not have an RD, please find one immediately that is in private practice. You may type in your zip code at the web site for The American Dietetic Association www.eatright.org . Look for an RD in your location with expertise in cancer or oncology.

(1) Suzanne Dixon, MS, MPH, RD’s web site www.cancernutritioninfo.com has a wide selection of delicious and nutrient-dense smoothie recipes using healthy cancer-fighting ingredients. The recipes are available from her website free of charge to download for your personal use.

(2) The I-Can't-Chew Cookbook: Delicious Soft Diet Recipes for People with Chewing, Swallowing, and Dry Mouth Disorders (Paperback)
By Mark A. Piper (Foreword) and J. Randy Wilson

(3) "Eat Well - Stay Nourished: A Recipe and Resource Guide for Coping with Eating Challenges", available at http://www.spohnc.org/cookbook.html
Or contact SPOHNC (Support for People with Oral, Head and Neck Cancers) at 1-800-377-0928.

(4) Easy-to-Swallow, Easy-to-Chew Cookbook: Over 150 Tasty and Nutritious Recipes for People Who Have Difficulty Swallowing (Paperback)
By Donna L. Weihofen, MS, RD et al.

(5) Two books available at http://www.dinnerthroughastraw.net for people with difficulty chewing and swallowing:
Dinner through a Straw
Let’s Do Lunch

I send my best wishes to you and your family during this challenging situation and hope that some of these suggestions are helpful to you.

Posted 02/06


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Head and Neck Cancer

Head and Neck Cancer I have head and neck cancer. My doctor is recommending a gastrostomy feeding tube (G-tube). Should I do this? posted 12/03, updated 4/04
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These questions and answers are intended to be of a general informative nature. Please consult with the Registered Dietitian in your cancer center or your health care provider for nutritional advice that can be individualized to your specific medical condition.

Contact Information:
Phone/Fax: 734/996-9260

P.O. Box 130221, Ann Arbor, MI  48113

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