Appetite during Treatment

OncoLink
Last Modified: June 8, 2012

Question:

Do you have any tips for helping my husband improve his appetite while on treatment?

Answer:

Tracy Lautenbach MSW, LCSW, Oncology Social Worker at Penn Medicine, responds:

To promote appetite it is important to create and follow a meal schedule with small, frequent meals/snacks every 2-3 hours. Treat your food like medicine and do not skip meals as you would not skip your medicine; to help get in the meals, have easy to grab foods available. High calorie beverages such as Ensure, Boost, Carnation Instant Breakfast, chocolate milk, and milkshakes can provide additional calories. Appetite and oral intake can be improved by good side effect management so it is important to discuss your side effects with your care team so that the management can be adequate. Also, if your appetite removes poor for a prolonged period it is important to discuss with care team for consideration of appetite stimulant medication.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Head and Neck Cancer Q&A Webchat transcript.

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