Difficulty swallowing food (Dysphagia)

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It is quite common to experience a difficulty in swallowing food with certain types of cancers, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, for example radiotherapy treatment to the neck. Even anxiety and stress may make you feel like you have something stuck in your throat, which can prevent ease of swallowing. The medical term for the symptom of difficulty in swallowing is called dysphagia.
Difficulty swallowing poses an issue to your nutritional and dietary intake as you consciously and subconsciously stop eating certain foods, or only eat small amounts of your usual foods. You may lose weight unintentionally as you start to eat less, which can lead to malnutrition. It is important to raise this symptom with your Oncology Dietitian to help educate you on how you can have a nourishing diet that has a modified texture. You might need to eat foods that are softer, more wet, or smaller pieces of foods. Some people find eating food that has a puree texture is suitable for them for a short term. There is nothing wrong with consuming a diet that has a modified texture. However, it is important to ensure you still get in adequate protein from foods such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs and tofu as well as grains and cereals, dairy foods, as oppose to relying on puree fruits and vegetable soups.

Your Oncology Dietitian can provide you with a suitably textured diet.

One Victorian company ‘I Cook Foods’ can even deliver different textured meals to your home.

For more information contact Zillan Bagg, OCV's Oncology Dietitian.