My mom is on chemo & radiation. She won't eat & will only drink water and 1/2 Boost a day. What to expect next?

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My mom is 72 years old and is undergoing chemo & radiation for a mass on her left side outside of her bladder. She also has a nephrostomy bag on her left kidney because the mass is pressing against her ureter preventing urine release. She will not eat at all and she only drinks about 15-20 ozs of water & 1/2 half a Boost daily. She has lost about 5 pounds in the last week and weighs about 80 pounds now. What can we expect next?

Answers 1 to 8 of 8
Have you talked to her oncologist about how little intake she has? I would call her/him today.

What stage is your mom's cancer?
Top Answer
Chemo and radiation are notorious for making people too ill to eat, so unless your mom's prognosis is that she is at end of life getting her fluids and nutrition is something her cancer team should be very familiar with and able to advise you on. Don't be afraid to be the squeaky wheel.
Shelybop, as cwillie had mentioned above, chemo and radiation can make people too ill to eat. Chemo also has a side affect of making the inside of one's mouth very sore, thus very painful to eat or even drink.

If you mother is able to join a cancer support group, that would be very helpful as the group compares notes, and others in the group can give suggestions on how it make certain side affects easier to deal with. I believe there is a product that will help with the mouth sores.
This is quite normal in patients receiving chemo as stated above. She really does need to hydrate though- I would try different tricks like sucking on ice cubes, eating popsicles, Italian ices, anything that gets fluid into her and some calories for energy.
If she is nauseous they can prescribe a med for that too.
This is a difficult phase to go through. You are doing the best that you can. Hang in there.
Thanks all! Mom is being treated for a recurrence of stage 4 endometrial cancer. The mass is not that big and actually shrank about 1cm. The biggest reason for radiation is to get it off her ureter. Chemo is only once a week. Her oncologist, radiologist, nutritionist, and cancer counselor have all been on point to get her to eat - she's a stubborn one :) Since there has been some shrinkage, we're moving towards hospice for a season to see if a break from treatment will help her to rebuild her strength. I'm just a little afraid that we'll lose her during the break time. O.K. eyes leaking. Thanks for any advice :D
Aw, Shelybop, I'm so sorry that you're going through this! I have a friend who has been on chemo and radiation for colon cancer recently, and she says her taste buds are just fried.

Does mom like ice cream? With whipped cream?
I'm a little bit concerned about your expectations re: hospice, there have been so many who have posted on this site who apparently did not understand that hospice care means end of life care and were traumatized because their loved ones died. I don't want to burden you at such a difficult time, but are you certain your mother is ready for hospice, or would palliative care or just a wait and see with regular care be more appropriate?
Great cookbook for cancer patients is Holly Cleggs “Eating Well Through Cancer”. Recipes straightforward and Holly also goes into how chemo affects “mouth feel” and why some ingredients trigger such bad reactions. She’s an RD (registered dietitian) & not just a food personality with a cookbook.

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