Difficulty swallowing and chewing during cancer treatment

Swallowing may become a problem following chemotherapy or radiation to the neck and chest. Infections, such as thrush, may also cause difficulty with swallowing.

Tips to improve swallowing during cancer treatment

  • Ask a speech therapist to suggest swallowing hints.
  • Drink 6 – 8 cups of fluid daily, thickening if necessary for easier swallowing.
  • Avoid dry foods; add sauces to tender meat and vegetables.
  • Blend beef and other protein foods with bouillon.
  • Chase a solid bite of food with a sip of fluid.
  • Sit upright when eating or drinking.
  • Eat small, frequent meals.
  • Drink liquid supplements (such as Boost or Carnation) if necessary to meet nutritional needs.
Last reviewed: 
April 2018

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