The appropriate diet for mouth cancer patients should help them to deal with the various problems that develop due to the illness and the side effects of cancer treatment. In addition to providing nutrition, the diet should be designed to cope with difficulty in swallowing, difficulty in chewing, dry mouth, loss of taste and changes in sense of smell of a mouth cancer patient.
How To Treat Mouth Cancer
Diet for Preventing Weight Loss
Weight loss is common in people suffering from oral cancer. Trouble in eating and swallowing leads to malnutrition that rapidly brings down the body weight. Too much loss in weight pushes up the mortality risk in cancer patients. Proper nutrition is necessary for repairing cells damaged by cancer treatment. Adding sufficient amount of vitamin, mineral and antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables to the diet can supply the essential nutrients needed to retain the normal body weight.
At least five servings of fruits and vegetables along with whole grain cereals, brown rice, brown breads, lean meat, fish, plant proteins and dairy should be included in the diet of mouth cancer patients. To prevent weight loss, calorie dense healthy foods such as full fat yogurts or whole milks are sometimes recommended by dieticians for cancer patients battling with weight loss.
However, people suffering from oral cancer should limit consumption of sugar. Researches suggest that certain malignant tumors grow primarily by feeding on glucose. Nutritional supplements are also effective in preventing malnutrition. Instead of eating large meals, a number of smaller meals are suitable for people suffering from oral cancer.
Soft Diet for Mouth Cancer Patients
Cancer tumours often cause difficulty in swallowing and chewing food. Swallowing difficulty also arises after surgical removal of parts of jaw, tongue, throat or mouth affected by cancer. A soft diet is essential for easing swallowing. Mashed potato and vegetables with melted cheese or butter, pasta with a variety of sauces, stews, broth, soups, casseroles, lentils, scrambled eggs, pudding, yogurt, custard and ice cream are few examples of delectable foods that can be added to soft diet meals of mouth cancer patients.
Diet for Change of Taste
Change or loss of taste may occur following radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments. These therapies affect the taste buds, which might numb the sense of taste. Loss of taste is more common after surgery of the tongue. Change in taste can be countered by serving cold food.
The unpleasant metallic taste that some patients developing during the treatment can be avoided by serving food on disposable plastic utensils. Lemonade and lemon flavored drinks might help to stimulate saliva secretion, which might help to improve the sense of taste. However, with progression of treatment, some oral cancer patients cannot tolerate acidic foods.
Diet for Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is a common side effect of radiotherapy. Sipping small amount of water frequently helps to moisten the mouth. Mouth cancer patients suffering from dry mouth should be served food with gravies. Sticky foods are unsuitable by dry mouth sufferers. Foods should be neither hot nor too cold.