Q:

Can a soft diet prevent bowel obstructions in an advanced pancreatic cancer patient?

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Quick Answer

There is some evidence that a soft diet may help prevent bowel obstructions in people with advanced pancreatic cancer, according to a paper published on PubMed. Soft diets may be more helpful than the traditional high-fiber diet recommended to many patients.

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Full Answer

Low-fiber diets are known to be helpful in preventing bowel obstructions for people suffering from other types of cancer, reports Penn Medicine. The Mayo Clinic reports that bowel obstructions can occur in pancreatic cancer patients when the cancer grows into or otherwise puts pressure on the small intestine. Full blockages may require surgery, but a partial blockage is sometimes manageable. Some patients also do well with a stent placed in the intestine to help hold it open.

Soft diets are most commonly prescribed for people who have recently undergone certain types of surgery that make chewing or digesting hard foods difficult, according to Drugs.com. A soft diet consists of foods that are mashed, pureed, or naturally soft and moist. Some harder foods can be consumed if the patient softens them with broth or other liquids or cuts them into very small bites. This makes the food easier to digest, which may help it move through the intestines easier and prevent blockages. Patients prone to blockages should discuss their diets with their doctors and follow instructions.

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