General question about life after tre... - Oesophageal Patie...

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General question about life after treatment.

mageesnow profile image

Any views on special diets and life style changes following osophegeal cancer and treatment.

Having read some books and various articles decided to give it a try as I thought it was pointless going back to exactly the same as I was prior to this happening.

So from an eating and diet view - No Refined sugar , meat or dairy products...only certain fish. Limit processed and microwaved food.

From a health view point - upping exercise and regular exercise.

Limiting or exclude unnatural toiletries ( containing perceived harmful chemicals such as Sodium Laureth Sulfate etc) - Using organic toothpaste , underarm, shampoo etc.

This is a bit of an effort and requires an amount of self will and support from a partner but 18 months down the line am feeling reasonably fit and healthy.

Any one doing this or has any comments?

12 Replies

The best advise I can give you is eat a varied diet with foods that you enjoy. Also eat smaller potions( which is little and often) . But you will in time find your own solutions as some foods will not agree with you .But that's not always the case. You can still enjoy eating I certainly do after my operation 9 years ago.

All the best to you.


Hi Mageesnow.

I would agree with everything Phil has said. I eat more or less anything I want too and only pay for it if i eat too much or too late in the day. The diet you have mentioned is obviously a healthy one but I feel you also have to live a little too. Best wishes and kind regards.


Two and a half years of an oesophagus free existence and I now eat three meals per day and I try to keep to a relatively healthy diet without any major restrictions. I still get occasional random dumping episodes but these are few and far between. It's usually eating too much or too fast but as one of six children I had to compete for food and can't shake the habit of shovelling it in.

Oddly one thing that seems to have no ill effects is booze. I don't drink as much as I did but it doesn't cause any problems for me.

But we are all different and we have to find diet and lifestyle that suits ourselves. I have been very lucky even 'though it's taken all this time before weight and muscle reappear.

slobjohnb profile image
slobjohnb in reply to haward

My story is so similar to yours. I enjoy a drink especially at lunchtimes and eat a varied diet. Little and often. Slowly getting fitter (op 18months ago). Good luck to you.

Like others, I don't follow a specific diet, if anything I have what would be considered for others as an unhealthy diet, - full cream milk for example!. And I'll happily eat meat, fish and chocolate with no ill effect (well short term anyway) provided I don't eat too much of anything at once! As everybody says eat little and often. One key thing to do is watch your weight. If it starts to drop, you could be not eating enough . It might be worth running your diet past a dietician with expertise in your condition (via your specialist nurse?). As usual there's a "health warning" - the operation effects individuals differently and there are variations over time too. Three and half years in, I seem to have settled down - touch wood.

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There are quite a lot of books that advocate diets that are meant to keep you clear of, or cure cancer. I am not sure that any of then really do what they say, and I have not come across any that are specific to oesophageal cancer, other than those about food that reduces reflux wherever possible.

There is some evidence that processed & red meat can tend to be a bit of a problem but it is a statistical tendency that may be of no real relevance to an individual.

Once you have had an oesophagectomy I think that a lot of these choices are closed off; you have to eat what you does not cause you trouible on way or another. I think sugar is a real issue for reducing 'dumping'. The other day my grandson was commenting on a digestive biscuit from Tesco that seemed sweet. So, as an experiment we looked at the contents label and weighted the biscuit. About 20% was sugar. So the best part of a teaspoonful of sugar was there in one biscuit, so it is not surprising that some food can upset the sugar:insulin balance. There is a fair bit of sugar in some milk, too. And artificial sweeteners (eg maple syrup) might be just as bad. But that does not mean that they cause cancer; just something that some of us need to be very careful about.

I quite agree that changing the way we eat requires an awful lot of discipline and support. We also value what quality of life we can muster, and if we can enjoy eating a balanced diet without adverse effects that is definitely something to be enjoyed. Quality of life is the reason for going through the treatment!

Thanks for your comments Alan. The way I am approaching this is basically I got cancer through genetics plus my lifestyle and dietry choices...can't change my genes but if I continue living and eating in the same way as before surely I will be back in the same position sooner or later!!! Changing the things you can, must give a person a better chance of survival.....just logical as far as I am concerned...but I seem to be in the minority with my ideas...not spoken to a single person who is doing the same as me and the medical profession don't go with my this should be an interesting long as I am feeling ok will stick to it..Interestingly my oncologist takes an aspirin daily to try and avoid cancer and heart disease so that is my next consideration.


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There is a large scale trial in progress trying to work out whether aspirin might make a difference. I think that all sorts of food and drink make a difference to the chemicals and balance within our bodies, and this probably shifts the risks by some percentage, so if it feels right for you, go for it! The medical people are governed by the findings from medical research so they tend not to give much credence to diet and so on, but many people believe it gives them great benefit.

I think it might be like a football team practising taking corners and penalties. It gives them an advantage if these situations occur, but there is no guarantee that it will result in scoring a goal, or will win the next match, but they play all the better for it.

I did more or less the same as you, with minor variations, i.e. cut down drastically on refined sugars, dairy products and processed foods, reduced my consumption of animal proteins, took lots of exercise and avoided harmful chemicals. And I'm still here almost 9 years later, although I must add that I'm not as disciplined now as I was during the early years, particularly when it comes to alcohol.

mageesnow profile image
mageesnow in reply to Spikey

Good to hear...9 years sounds good to me..stay well.

If you have had major intestinal surgery you need to be extremely careful if contemplating taking aspirin ( or any other NSAID) - there is an enhanced risk of a fatal bleed.

Yes of course it must be done with the doctors authorisation. As with anything you do after this type of surgery and treatment.

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