Try foods with gravy, broths, or sauces. They will be easier to chew and swallow.
Eat small meals and eat more often during the day.
Cut your food into small pieces.
Ask your doctor or dentist if artificial saliva might help you.
Drink at least 8 to 12 cups of liquid each day, not including coffee or tea, or other drinks that have caffeine in them.
Do not drink alcohol. Do not eat spicy foods, acidic foods, or foods that are very hot or cold. These will bother your throat.
If pills are hard to swallow, try crushing them and mixing them with ice cream or other soft food. Ask your doctor or pharmacist before crushing your medicines. Some medicines do not work when crushed.
Your arm is red, swollen, or there are signs of infection.
Ask your doctor or nurse about exercises you can do to keep your arm moving freely.
Dry, sore throat, or cough
Try using a humidifier or vaporizer in your bedroom or main living area. Do not smoke cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Do not chew tobacco.
Try sucking on sugar-free candy to add saliva to your mouth.
Mix one half teaspoon of salt and one quarter teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of warm water. Gargle with this solution several times a day. Do not use store-bought mouthwashes or lozenges.
For a cough that does not go away:
Ask your doctor or nurse which cough medicine is OK to use (it should have low alcohol content).
Drink enough fluids to keep your mucus thin.
Your doctor may check your blood counts regularly, especially if the radiation treatment area is large.
National Cancer Institute. Radiation therapy and you: support for people with cancer. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/radiation-therapy-and-you. Accessed May 7, 2014.
Perry MC. Approach to the patient with cancer. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 182.
Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.