Swallowing problems : Hi everyone, My... - The Roy Castle Lu...

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

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Swallowing problems

HopefulAnnie101 profile image

Hi everyone,

My dad has been on intense chemotherapy and radiotherapy for the past 3 weeks. His first week was with chemo and radio and the past 2 weeks has been radio alone. Next week is his final week of chemo and radio and hopefully will receive positive results soon.

In the meantime, my dads developed a cough and has problems swallowing solid foods. We’ve been giving him mushy food such as soup, mashed potatoes etc but it’s hard to think of other food we can give him. Does anyone have any advice as to what else we can give him? He’s been doing really well so far with treatment and side effects have been minimal. Just this issue isn’t going away.

Any help would be appreciated!

Annie x

15 Replies
RoyCastleHelpline profile image


Good to hear your dad is doing well so far. I have attached a link regarding swallowing problems following radiotherapy


I have also attached a link to some information about diet and chemotherapy


I hope this is helpful, if you would like to speak to one of the helpline nurses please don't hesitate to contact us on 0800 358 7200(option2)Monday to Thursday9.00-5.00 pm & Friday 9.00-4.00pm

Kind regards,

All the team at the Roy Castle Helpline

Maybe buy a ninja smoothie maker, bought one for my mum and have mastered some delicious non tarty smoothies loaded with calories and nuts snd fruit for all the nutrition xx good luck xx

Thank you! Yes we’ve been blending some smoothies and juices for him. I just hope it passes quickly. It’s so sad to see him struggle to eat x

Everything about them suffering is just awful isn’t it xxxxx

Hi Annie

I had chemo and radio to neck area and made swallowing a challenge for a while. As I wasn’t eating such big quantities, I wanted to try to make what I did eat nutritious and calorific. Scrambled egg was good, ice cream, soup, custard, porridge, mashed potatoes. The radio to neck did make my taste buds go weird though so some things tasted completely different to how they normally do! They have all gone back to normal now.

You can get some codeine linctus that will help with swallowing - they offered it to me when I was having the radio although I didn’t end up using it - so maybe worth him asking if he is struggling as they may be able to help.

Hope all goes well with your Dad’s last treatment and that his subsequent scans are good.

Best wishes


Hi Jane,

Thank you for your help. We tried scrambled egg mixed in with mash potatoes. He was able to eat it with ease but i notice he struggles more in the evenings with dinner. I’ve told dad to ask for medication because he’ll be having chemo with radio next week so he’s got to ensure he keeps up his eating! X

Good plan. Hope all goes well for him next week. One thing I also tried when having radio was a teaspoon of manuka honey. It is quite expensive but you can get it in the supermarket. I don’t know if it did any good - but I seemed to do well through my treatment in terms of swallowing / soreness so I kept going with it through treatment in case it was helping. Obviously don’t know what I would have been like without it!! I had read it as a tip from someone before I started so thought it was worth a go.

All the best to you and your Dad xx

Hi Jane,

Thank you for the suggestion, I went out and got some. It’s pricey but I think it’s helped soothe his throat a lot. They’ve prescribed dad some medication and it’s made a huge difference. Apparently he had a fungal infection in his throat which went down to his oesophagus. Hoping the anti fungal medication does the work. It’s good to see him eating again though. Thank you for your best wishes.

Annie xx

Glad that they have prescribed something to help him as well and that the manuka may be helping. Hopefully his discomfort when swallowing will ease up soon.

With best wishes Jx

Try pineapple juice to help or fresh pineapple. You can freeze it and sucking on the frozen pineapple soothes the throat. On top of containing tons of illness-fighting vitamin C, pineapples have bromelain, an enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties. This combination of nutrients helps to fight off disease and kill bacteria, including those found in your throat.

Research has found that raw extracts from pineapple could decrease mucus five times faster than over-the-counter cough syrups.

Sounds like your dads doing really well. High calorie easy to eat food like ice cream, custard, rice pudding with jam in it, porridge with full fat milk, add carnation milk to things too.

You can get Fortisip Compact drinks and Calogen extra shots to add to them to boost your dads calories and nutrients. My dad got them prescribed by the GP. Together they are only 165 ml but 460 calories and full of vitamins and minerals.

Sending lots of prayers for your dad to continue to get through this treatment so well xxx

Thank you so much for your message. I’ve thought about buying pineapple too. I will definitely go out and get some. The doctors found my dad had a fungal infection in his throat which travelled down, apparently it’s very common. I had no clue you could get fungal infections in your throat!

Yes, just 2 more days left now! Looking forward to his recovery. Got plenty of ice cream and the medication has helped ease a lot of the pain/burning. He’s still on mushy food but at least he’s eating.

The doctor also prescribed him with Fortsip, I think that’s helped with maintaining his weight and giving calories.

Thank you! Hopefully will be able to give some good news in a couple of months xxx

Sounds like he’s managing pretty well and will soon finish this treatment and can recover.We buy the supermarket 100% pineapple juice.

Wishing your dad all the best xxx

Hi, some great advice here already. It sounds like my dad is a few weeks ahead on a very similar treatment protocol. He’s now just over 2 weeks after finishing his radiotherapy and his chemo cycle and his sore throat is most definitely easing now. The tiredness really hit him when everything stopped and the sore throat/cough has persisted but is definitely improving almost daily now. We are now in the ‘waiting’ again for the scans etc.

Hope you’re dad keeps well xxx

Hi, thanks for your message. I hope your dad has a speedy recovery! But I’m glad things are improving. Praying you receive some good news after the scans xxx

I've found that fresh chopped fruit with ice cream is really good. Pine juice gives you a pleasure taste in the mouth. Also soups breads are terrible to digest so pa small amount of pasta very goid

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