Easy to understand information and advice from dietitians, speech pathologists, patients and carers about nutrition and head and neck cancer.

Head and Neck Cancer nutrition videos

Developed for patients, family and friends, the Head and Neck Cancer Nutrition Video series covers some of the most frequently asked questions about nutrition and head and neck cancer before, during and after treatment. 

Video 1: Nutrition and preparing for treatment
Video 2: Nutrition, swallowing and managing side-effects
Video 3: Nutrition during and after treatment
Video 4: Denyse: a patient's perspective
Video 5: Robert: a patient's perspective
Video 6: Carol: a carer's perspective

Video 1: Nutrition and preparing for treatment

This video talks about why nutrition is imporant for someone with head and neck cancer. It will also give you tips on how to get enough nutrition before you start treatment and maintain a healthy weight.

Topics covered

  • Why do we need protein and energy?

  • The role of the dietitian

  • ​The role of the speech pathologist

  • Top tips for nutrition before treatment

  • Useful kitchen tools

  • Shopping for food

  • Learn how to read food labels

  • Tips for eating when you’re away from home

  • Keeping your teeth and mouth healthy

Video 2: Nutrition, swallowing and managing side-effects

Head and neck cancer can make it hard to eat and drink. This may be because of the cancer itself or side effects of treatment.

This video talks about the most common side-effects of head and neck cancer treatment that may impact on your ability to swallow and eat and drink normally. Your cancer care team may also call side effects barriers to eating and drinking.

Topics covered

  • Top 5 side effects of head and neck cancer treatment

  • Why is swallowing important?]

  • Difficulty swallowing - dysphagia

  • Swallowing tests

  • Tips on how to swallow safely when eating

  • Mouthcare routine

  • Pain on swallowing – odynophagia

  • Difficulty opening your mouth - trismus

  • Dry Mouth - xerostomia

  • Not feeling hungry

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Nil by mouth

Video 3: Nutrition during and after treatment

If you, or someone you know, is being treated for head and neck cancer, this video has tips on how to make sure you're eating and drinking well. The goal is to maintain your weight, and get the energy and protein your body needs.

Topics covered

  • Smart snacking

  • Enrich your meals

  • Fluid diet

  • Thickened fluids

  • Soft food

  • Managing taste changes

  • Unproven diets – what you need to know

  • Food safety and hygiene

  • ​Tips for eating socially

  • Advice for caregivers

Video 4: Denyse, a patient's perspective

"I learnt about adding value to food, it's a tip that I still follow today."

Video 5: Robert, a patient's perspective

"Experiment with food. Try something different everyday. It does get better; it does get easier."

Video 6: Carol, a carer's perspective

"It's very important to be social with family and friends. It's too lonely not to. It can make your day a lot nicer."

Acknowledgements

Nutrition Working Group
Jacqueline Baker, Senior Dietitian, Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, NSW
Teresa Brown, Dietitian Team Leader, Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital, QLD
Sarah Deacon, Senior Oncology Dietitian, Townsville University Hospital, QLD
Merran Findlay, Oncology Specialist Dietitian, Sydney Local Health District, NSW
Jane Harrowfield, Clinical Lead Dietitian, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC
Julia Maclean, Speech Pathologist, St George Hospital, NSW
Corey Patterson, Speech Pathologist, Townsville University Hospital, QLD
Rachelle Robinson, Speech Pathologist, Prince of Wales Hospital, NSW
Stella Salpigtidis, Senior Speech Pathologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC

Personal Perspectives
Carol, Carer
Denyse, Former patient
Robert, Former patient

Funded by the Dry July Foundation 

Published: July 2020