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November 7, 2011

What To Do with a Chemo Related Sore Mouth and Sore Throat

Found This and Thought It Might Be Useful….

Helpful Hints for Sore Mouth and Throat…..

Compliments of MERCK ONCOLOGY “Eating Well Through Cancer”

Does this Sound Familiar?

  • I have no appetite. Is there anything to help me?
  • Should I eat hot or cold foods?
  • What foods should I eat?

Your mouth normally will get sore 7 to 10 days following certain chemotherapy treatments. Remember to do your mouth care: 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt in a quart of tap water. Rinse and spit after each meal. Make a fresh solution each morning and discard at the end of the day. Try eating soft or pureed foods. Use a straw for all liquids or pureed foods. This is a good time to use plastic utensils to avoid the metallic taste. Eating foods at room temperature or cool are easier to handle when your mouth is sore. Raw foods tend to irritate your mouth and should be avoided. If you are still losing ground, talk to your physicians about the following appetite stimulants:

  1. Liquid Megace – 800 mg/day x 30 days then decrease to 400 mg/day.
  2. Megace 40 mg twice per day and Marinol 2.5 mg by mouth twice per day.

Remember, if you find one food that you can tolerate do not hesitate to eat it repeatedly. The mouth soreness is usually associated with a low white blood cell count. As soon as your counts rise, the soreness will resolve. Cephacol, Xylocaine, and pain medicines are sometimes needed to ease the mouth pain. I often have patients take a pain pill 30 minutes prior to meals to allow them to eat. If you have obvious sores on your lips, a small amount of Vitamin E can sometimes help. Puncture a 500 unit Vitamin E capsule and squeeze the contents on the ulcer 3 times per day.

If you have these problems, eating soft, bland foods and lukewarm or cool foods can be soothing. On the other hand, foods that are coarse, dry, or scratchy should be avoided. In addition, you may find that tart, salty or acidic fruits and juices, alcohol, and spicy foods may be irritating and should be avoided. Rinsing your mouth regularly with one teaspoon of baking soda and eight ounces of water or salt can help prevent infections and improve healing.

Points to Remember

  • Avoid tart, acidic, or salty foods and drinks such as citrus fruit juices (grapefruit, orange, lime), pickled and vinegary foods, tomato-based foods, and some canned broths.
  • Avoid rough-textured foods, such as dry toast, granola, and raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat food that is cool or room temperature. Very hot or cold foods can cause discomfort.
  • Limit alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco. These substances can dry out your mouth and throat and promote further irritation.
  • Avoid spices such as chili powder, cloves, curry, hot sauces, nutmeg, and pepper.
  • Season foods with herbs such as basil, oregano, and thyme.
  • Use a straw for liquids.
  • Try chewing sugar-free gum or suck on sugar free candies.
  • Cut food into small pieces.
  • Softer and easy to swallow foods include soft, creamy foods, such as cream soups, cheeses, mashed potatoes, pastas, yogurt, eggs, custards, puddings, cooked cereals, ice cream, casseroles, gravies, syrups, breakfast-type recipes, milkshakes, and nutritional liquid food supplements.
  • Drink your meals with nutritious liquids.
  • Practice good oral hygiene and use websites such as Opencare, to see how you can prevent and treat oral health issues.
  • Use oral anesthetics such as ulcerease. Ask your doctor for a “stomatitis” (sore mouth) cocktail. Xylocaine-equal parts; Maalox-equal parts; Benadryl-equal parts Swish and swallow one teaspoon every four hours as needed for pain.

Some Soft Foods to Include:

  • Applesauce, bananas, watermelon, and other soft fruits.
  • Cottage cheese, milk shakes, or smoothies. Scrambled eggs.
  • Puddings, flavored gelatin, Cooked cereals such as oatmeal or cream of wheat.
  • Mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, or mashed vegetables.

Shopping List for Sore Mouth

  • Bread, butter, eggs, honey
  • Cream of wheat, grits
  • Applesauce; fruit, no citrus (fresh, frozen, canned), vegetables (fresh, frozen, canned)
  • Milk, cottage cheese, ice cream, frozen yogurt, cheese, yogurt
  • Nutritional energy drink supplement
  • Popsicles, puddings, flavored gelatins, frozen whipped topping

Please let us know at of your FAVORITE recipes for Sore Mouth and Throat. We’d love to share them! Blessings, Dellann Elliott, President & CEO, Chris Elliott Fund


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