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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Helping with Your Child’s Appetite During Cancer Treatments

There are many things that cause a decrease in appetite after cancer treatment and for a parent, it can be extremely difficult to watch your child refusing food. It is important to keep up with a good diet during cancer treatment but for many, appetite suffers, or their mouth becomes too sore for it to be worth eating. If your child is having cancer treatment or is about to, here are some tips on ensuring they are getting some nutrition during this time.

Don’t Make It A Chore

Your child is going through a lot of emotions, as are you. The worst thing that you can do is force food onto your child, as this will just make them refuse it even more so. Although as a parent, you want what is best for your child and watching them lose weight before your eyes can be terrifying, making eating a chore will not help matters. Instead, offering them things they like or waiting for them to ask may be a better option.

Ensuring Good Oral Hygiene

Unfortunately, one of the most common problems for both adults and children after receiving chemotherapy is oral mucositis. This condition can make the mouth extremely sore and lead to a decrease in appetite. Your oncology team should talk to you and your child about oral mucositis and its effects before the chemotherapy commences, and your child should be on regular pain relief before symptoms begin. Maintaining good oral hygiene can help reduce how significant oral mucositis is for your child and this should be done at all times, not just when symptoms start.

Offer Them What They Want

Although we talk again and again about a healthy diet with children and how this should be encouraged, if all your child wants is something unhealthy, then give it to them. It is much more important they are eating something than nothing at all, and they are going through a great ordeal, so if they can’t have some treats now, when can they?

Use Easy to Swallow Foods

If your child has a form of throat cancer, or their mouth is sore due to mucositis, offering them food that is much easier to swallow and will spend less time in their mouth is ideal. This may mean making smoothies with their favorite fruits or blending up their meals if necessary. Here is a great list of some good foods and foods to avoid for children suffering from throat cancer.

Keeping Hydrated

Even if your child is put off their food, ensuring that they are drinking enough during cancer treatment is also an issue. Drinks are a great way to also get some extra calories down their neck and you can get many high sugar drinks if they are not eating enough. Being a parent to a child with cancer is difficult, but it also gives you a great insight into the care required and the importance of hydration in children following cancer treatment. If this has empowered you to want to do more for children with cancer, there are many nursing degrees online that will allow you to take your experience and use it to help others.
Cancer treatment can have many effects on the body and one of them is a decrease in appetite. These tips may help you as a parent to deal with your child’s diet during cancer treatment.


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