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Dietary Guide and Meal Options

               Forward by Matt Carter, OOSO Chair of Trustees and former patient
               By sharing our experiences of coping with oesophageal and stomach cancer, we hope that you find
               this a practical and helpful guide to eating well, maintaining a nutritious diet and managing your
               weight.  We do this by providing dietary tips and real examples of meal options that work for us.
               Whilst we believe our guidance is helpful, it should not be considered clinically definitive advice.
               Specialist dieticians based at the Churchill Hospital or your local hospital should always be consulted
               if you have specific needs or concerns.

               For your convenience, we have summarised our experiences and suggestions in 3 stages.  Just click
               on any stage and go that section:

                   1.  Diagnosis and treatment phase (or as a PDF)
                   2.  Post-surgery and recovery, the first year (or as a PDF)
                   3.  Long term dietary tips and lifestyle beyond year 1 (or as a PDF)

               We are eternally grateful to Liz Ward (Lead Dietician at the Churchill Hospital) for her overview and
               support of this guide, and to Dr Ed White and former patient Peter Adams for sharing their in-depth
               knowledge of diets through their editorial input.

               Section 1. Diagnosis and treatment phase

               Discovering cancer for the for first time is nothing less than traumatic.  But please be reassured you
               are not alone - many patients have been through the very same experience. The care you will
               receive from the NHS will be nothing less than the very best.

               Prior to diagnosis, the early symptoms vary in degree, most typically mild bloating and or phlegm
               after meals, occasional acid reflux with a burning sensation in the lower oesophagus or heartburn.
               Over a period of months food can become increasingly hard to swallow. Most usually this is the time
               when people visit their GP and should then be referred for further tests without delay. The earlier
               the diagnosis, the sooner treatment and recovery can take place.

               Within days of diagnosis, a specialist dietician at the hospital will be in touch to review and assess
               the person’s individual circumstances, offering advice and practical support as needed. It is vitally
               important to listen carefully and follow their advice.  We know from our own experience that it helps
               to remain calm and focussed on everything that ‘can be done’ to get well.

               Here are a few things you can do:

                   •  Keep a daily diary of what you eat. This will help you decide which meal options you prefer
                       and find easier to eat; it will help you to plan ahead, and ensure that you eat regularly and
                   •  Keep a weekly record of your weight, there is no need to record a daily weight.  Be mentally
                       prepared for weight loss, this is quite normal to lose weight throughout treatment.  Keeping
                       a record helps tie together your dietary diary with foods that work well for you;
                   •  If possible, aim to maintain your weight ahead of and during treatment, if not increase it a
                       little; this helps to sustain energy levels and offset weight lost during chemo’ and or
                       radiotherapy, and importantly post-surgery;
                   •  Also, keep a daily diary of exercises you do. It’s important to remain active however small or
                       insignificant it may seem. Activity could range from doing a little house work, gentle
                       exercises in front of the TV, or a short walk around the garden or to the local shop, to longer
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