Oral cancer and diabetes

Posted By: CynthiaD

Oral cancer and diabetes - 03-01-2020 03:31 AM

I was wondering if anyone here has had experience of oral cancer in combination with diabetes (type 2).

My boyfriend is one of those people. He has cancer, stage iv, of the upper part of his mouth, left side. He had surgery about a month ago in which they basically removed the left roof of his mouth, along with 4 teeth. He also, in the same operation, had reconstructive surgery where they removed tissue from his leg to close the hole in the top of his mouth. They also removed all the lymph nodes from the left side of his neck, but non were cancerous. (As a result, he does not need chemotherapy.) The cancer was stage iv because it was found in the bone.

So the next step is radiation, beginning probably within a couple of weeks. I am very worried about his weight. He has lost about 15 pounds since the operation. The radiation doctor wants him to gain back all that weight, but I don't see how it's possible in two weeks! His appetite is not great. I know that loss of weight is a problem during radiation, so I am very worried.

The fact that he's diabetic does make it hard to get calories, because he has to be careful about carbs. It's hard to take lots and lots of calories that don't contain too many carbs! I was wondering if anyone has had experience with this problem.

(I should add that he is not overweight -- he is 5'11" and currently weighs 149 pounds.)

Thanks!
Posted By: gmcraft

Re: Oral cancer and diabetes - 03-01-2020 02:56 PM

At our hospital, the advice is to mix some powdered skimmed milk in with milk to increase the calories in each cup of milk the patient drinks, but since Hank is diabetic, I would not think this is appropriate for him. Do you have access to a dietitian at the hospital? This is a person you really need to talk to. He/she will make suggestions which are tailored to Hank’s health situation and can keep an eye on his weight as well as his blood sugar content. At the hospital, all the patients have a dietitian assigned. If Hank doesn’t have one, see if you can get a referral from his surgeon/RO or his family doctor. This is a good person to have on your side as he starts radiation.
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