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chemotherapy and diet
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chemotherapy and diet

My Father has small cell lung cancer. He is 64 and he is taking chemo. The tumor is actually responding really well to the chemo but I have a couple questions about his diet right now as this is my main concern because he is weak and has no appetite. I am overwhelmed with what he should eat and what he should avoid and have a hard time getting someone to tell me the answers. The doctors have stated right after chemo, there is a down period...where his immune system is low and he has no white blood cells. He should avoid any foods that would possibly give him bacteria. I need to know is there any info that I can get that tells me exactly what he cannot have Ex: Sugars, sweets, potatoes, etc...Also is it just the "down time" he has to avoid these foods or when his immune system and white blood cells start rising again, then can he start having some of these foods again...Thanks for any info you can give or direct me in the direction I need to go and find out. Thanks Again
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi,

The issue with getting bacteria is more a function of food preparation than the food itself. Food that is eaten raw such as some salads or some Japanese food may carry a higher risk than food that is well cooked. Of course, if you are pretty thorough with cleaning food and utensils - this shouldn't be much of an issue. Or you could include these foods in the diet when the next cycle nears because as you said: this would be around the time that the immune system is working sufficiently.

There is no specific should not take list. THere is a preferred to take list. The chemotherapy will affect blood components - and hence it would be good to maintain enough protein in the diet to allow the body to re-generate blood components faster. Food that is high in protein involves fish, milk, and egg white.

It may also be good to prepare food that is easier to swallow (a little oil or soup perhaps). The chemotherapy may affect taste - so the longer he has to chew the food - the more likely that the food will taste wrong and this will add to the aversion of the dinner experience.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank You so much for your help!
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Avatar_n_tn
Also, I have one more thing I am concerned about. My dad has had a collapsed lung for 9 days now. It collapsed while in the hospital last week and they drained almost 3 liters off. They sent him home with the catheter like drainage tube in but it hasn't really been draining anything else for the last 3 days or so. I have heard of collapsed lungs before, but don't they usually pop back out on their own? I was just kinda concerned that his hasn't popped back out yet or what it could be. He was breathing quite a bit better after the fluids got drained off but seems to thing he is not breathing so well now because of the collapsed lung. Thanks for any input and advice you can give.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi,

Your idea is somewhat correct. If the fluid is responsible for compressing the lung - the drainage will allow the lung to re-expand. This mental framework is very simplistic. The lung cancer tends to affect the airways also - hence some areas fail to re-expand since the normal passage of air is blocked by the cancer.

Most patients would experience an improvement during the initial drainage - however, the lung function doesn't always return to normal - and the patients feel some degree of heaviness during breathing.

Some patients have some time with a drainage tube - when there is no more or very little fluid draining - follow-up X-rays are done to check how well the lungs have re-expanded. Some patients subsequently undergo a procedure to prevent re-accumulation of fluid by instilling a drug through the tube - but again not all patients are candidates for this.
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