Digestive disorders in cancer patients and how to overcome them

The article was written by Dr. BS Phan Nguyen Thanh Binh - Head of the Department of Nutrition - Dietetics, Department of Pediatrics - Neonatology, Vinmec Central Park International General Hospital
Cancer patients experience a variety of gastrointestinal disturbances either due to the tumor itself or as a side effect of therapy that interferes with receiving adequate nutrition. Without early intervention, the patient is at risk of losing weight, dehydration, exhaustion, immunodeficiency affecting the response to treatment, thereby reducing the time as well as survival.

1. Common digestive disorders

Due to the tumor itself:
Gastrointestinal obstruction/perforation Abnormal intestinal secretion Poor absorption Intestinal motility disorders Electrolyte disturbances Due to chemotherapy
Mouth ulcers, oesophagitis Vomiting Myelosuppression, decreased Leukemia, infection Diarrhea Due to radiation therapy
Radiation therapy to the oropharynx: anorexia, change in taste, smell, dry mouth, mucositis, painful swallowing, difficulty swallowing, fatigue, stiff jaw,... Radiotherapy to the lower neck and mediastinum : esophagitis, dysphagia, dysphagia, reflux esophagitis, nausea, or vomiting Radiation therapy to the abdomen or pelvis : associated bowel injury (acute or chronic) diarrhea, malabsorption - malabsorption, abdominal pain, flatulence, obstruction, colitis, stenosis, ulceration,... Other side effects include nausea, vomiting, lactose intolerance, hematuria, inflammation bladder , and fatigue
Xạ trị
Xạ trị là một trong những nguyên nhân gây ra tình trạng rối loạn tiêu hóa ở người bệnh

Due to surgery
Patients with cancer of the head, neck, stomach, and intestines: malnourished, so it is necessary to have early nutritional intervention before surgery for oropharyngeal surgery: difficulty chewing, difficulty swallowing. May cause delayed digestion, decreased gastric secretion, fatty stools, secondary diarrhea, abdominal bloating and regurgitation. small intestine can lead to malabsorption

2. Remedy

Prevention before it happens High fiber diet (25-30g/day): eat about 500g of vegetables and fruits per day Drink lots of water, fluids: from 2 liters of fluid (8-10 cups) per day can be from water, fruit juice, milk, broth,... Moderate eating habits, warm food Walking and exercising regularly,...
Không uống quá 50ml nước trước khi thực hiện chụp
Bổ sung nhiều nước giúp cải thiện tình trạng táo bón hiệu quả
Encourage drinking small amounts of water evenly throughout the day, increasing total body water intake Avoid sweetened beverages that can cause osmotic diarrhea Increase foods rich in soluble fiber, reduce/limit insoluble fiber In case of severe diarrhea, need to replace electrolytes Vomiting
Need to determine the cause for intervention Eat before hunger because hunger increases the feeling of nausea Drink lots of water, drink slowly, many times a day, avoid drinking a lot when eating Avoid foods with pungent, fatty, strong odors,... Eat small meals and eat dry foods such as crackers, toast Should you sit or half lie down and eat for about an hour. comfortable, roomy clothes Cool place to stay, fresh air Decrease appetite
Limit raw foods Eat small meals Avoid strong-smelling foods Drink water between meals Increase intake of favorite foods, palatable mouth pain
Eat soft, chopped, easy to chew food (banana/ butter/ mashed potatoes/ noodles/ vermicelli/ pho/ ..., or can eat liquid food (cereal flour/ milk, etc.). . ) 8-12 cups/day Eat foods cold or let cool at room temperature Avoid spicy, salty, and sour foods Try to eat when the pain subsides
Thức ăn lỏng mềm
Nếu bệnh nhân bị đau miệng cần chuẩn bị ăn thức ăn lỏng mềm, dễ nhai nuốt

Dry mouth
Oral hygiene and rinsing at least 4 times a day Use artificial saliva or mouth moisturizers, drink plenty of water and take sips every few minutes... Chew gum to increase secretions saliva Eat more sour fruits to stimulate saliva production (except in cases of inflammatory lesions, ulcers, pain in the mouth and pharynx) Avoid eating a lot of sugar Using cold desserts Taste disorder (loss of taste) sensory/metallic/increased perception of sweetness...)
Gargle before eating Increase eating of favorite, palatable foods Eat sour fruits such as oranges, tangerines, lemons, pomelo... (except in cases of painful sores in the mouth and pharynx) Use spices and sauces to enhance flavor, and add ingredients that are not sweet Combine foods with high protein content high other than meat, limit red meat and raw foods. Do not use metal eating utensils

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