Other than steroids, there really isn't any thing that will increase appetite. But you can substitute what he is currently eating with foods with higher calorie content if he is losing to too much weight. If the lack of appetite isn't causing any problems though, I wouldn't try to force him to eat more.
Lung Cancer Questions
Asked by caregiver on Monday, February 25, 2013
husband had last chemo 10/12-still sleeps all the time. And appetite poor-lung cancer has spread to kidney so going for 2nd opinion this week. Still has residual nerve pain from shingles last june. What can i give him naturally to increase appetite. Appreciate any help.
6 Answers from the Community
Becky@UMich RN, BS, OCN, Cancer AnswerLine Nurse
Decreased or poor appetite is a common side effect of many types of cancer treatment. The good news is as a caregiver there are ways that you can help your husband get the nutrition and calories he needs.
Some tips to help you:
Understand that typical meal times and portions that you and your husband were once used to, may need to be adjusted. Instead of 3 large meals/day, try offering him small portion high calorie snacks 5-6 times throughout the day. It’s not always how much he eats that’s important to maintain his weight and energy, but rather what he eats. Foods high in protein (like chopped meat and hard boiled egg), and dairy products (milk, ice cream, & cheese) add extra calories and provide needed energy.
Foods that are soft and easy to swallow, like puddings, milk shakes, pasta, rice, and potatoes are easy on the tummy. Maybe change up your normal routine by offering scrambled eggs or other breakfast foods for dinner, and serve the biggest portion when your husband is most hungry.
Sometimes drinking is easier and can feel less overwhelming than eating a meal. If that’s the case encourage your husband to sip soups, hot cocoa, smoothies or prepared liquid nutritional supplements like Ensure or Boost.
The American Cancer Society has some recipes you may want to try: http://www.cancer.org/treatment/survivorshipduringandaftertreatment/nutritionforpeoplewithcancer/nutritionforthepersonwithcancer/nutrition-during-treatment-recipes
And check out the AICR website for more information about dealing with treatment side effects: http://www.aicr.org/patients-survivors/cancerresource/cancerresource-side-effects.html#loss
Another thought- if you haven’t already, you may want to ask your husband’s doctor about a referral to a dietician to give you more ideas about food preparation, and meal plans.
Hope this helps! Becky RN OCN
I am sure that my response will cause quite the stir on the group, but here it goes. I am a strong supporter of medical marijuana. It's benefits are increased appetite, pain management, anti anxiety and sleep aid. Yes it is illegal in many states. I saw it help my son 15 years ago when he had testicular cancer and it helped me with my lung cancer. You don't have to smoke it you can make cookies, brownies, butter, even tea. It helped relax me, increased my appetite to the point I put on 15 pounds, helped wean me off all pain meds. There are pros and cons to the debate but I'm all pro.
You might try the low sugar Ensure or Instant breakfast -high protein drinks and suppliments If you are at a cancer center they might have meetings that address many cancer issues or nutrition experts available..And visit the ACS desk because they have a cookbook and other great material available
Add me to the proponents for medical marijuana. I can not say enough about this medication.. ..and, It is medication, having been used for centuries before we existed. I am a nurse and I personally found it to be more helpful for pain than both morphine and percocet together. It also relaxes you and increases your appetite. Compare those side effects with the ones you're you're currently taking.