Surgery or radiotherapy for head and neck cancers can change how you eat and drink. Many people find that it gets easier to eat after treatment finishes. This is because side effects such as pain, swelling, feeling sick and tiredness are improving.
If you have eating difficulties, you will usually be supported by a speech and language therapist (SLT). They can teach you exercises and techniques to help you chew and swallow. You may also see a dietitian. They can advise you on how to increase the energy and nutrients in your diet. They may give you high-calorie supplements if you have lost weight.
We have information about what to eat to increase your weight after cancer treatment.
It can take a lot of effort and patience to overcome eating difficulties. If you have found eating difficult for a while, you may no longer associate food with pleasure. Taste changes may reduce your desire for food and affect your appetite.
Talk to your SLT if you feel this way. Some SLTs use different coping techniques, such as mindful eating, to help people regain pleasure in food. These techniques can help you to feel more relaxed around food and to find the things about eating you can still enjoy.