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Feeding Tubes

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Proper nutrition is a crucial aspect of cancer treatment.  During treatment, it may be incredibly difficult to retain essential nutrients that are required for your body to heal itself, conduct proper immune system maintenance, and retaining body weight and lean muscle mass.  A properly balanced diet with proper nutrition and ample hydration may help ease the process of treatment.  During the process of chemotherapy and radiation, it may become extremely difficult to consume food and water orally.  This may be due to the potential development of mucositis sores developing within your mouth, a drastic change the amount of saliva your mouth produces, as well as a temporarily destroyed ability to taste your food.  It may become necessary to blend your meals and drink them orally. Our team is able to give you tips and resources for blending your foods and recipe ideas. However, things may progress and even liquids taken orally may no longer be an option if you are either not able to drink them or if it is not quite enough to keep you properly nourished or maintain your body weight.  Once you hit a point where you doctor is no longer comfortable with your body weight, a feeding tube may be ordered. 

First introduced in 1980, there are more than 200,000 patients that receive this form of treatment each year.  The tubes may be easily hidden by clothes and are relatively painless.  Many patients have negative connotations associated with feeding tubes; however, it is simply another tool to help you get the necessary nutrition to better enable you to beat your cancer. 

 
There are different types of feeding tubes.  For short-term use, one may be placed though the nasal passage.   Feeding tubes required for longer periods of time are typically directly placed into the stomach through the abdominal wall.  This is called a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube.  The surgical procedure required to place the feeding tube is a common, relatively simple and short outpatient procedure performed by your gastroenterologist with the aid of an endoscope.  This surgical procedure is low risk with minimal discomfort and only takes approximately 20 minutes.  Some types of PEG tubes have a wire in the tube that allows a portion of the stomach to “pigtail,” or curl up, in order to prevent the tube from being pulled out.  Other types utilize a small balloon that is placed at the end of the tube and is inflated after each use for the same purpose.  There will be approximately 3 inches of tubing protruding from the abdominal wall, which may be taped in place when not in use.  Removal of the feeding tube is simple depending on which type you receive.  You can either cut the wire from the pigtail method or simply deflate the balloon – each allows the tube to slip easily from the stomach. 
 
Interim provides the necessary skills to help guide patients and their families toward effective self-management of their tube feedings, how to properly care for their tube, nutrition, education in the use of gravity or pumps for nutrition administration, and overall complication prevention.  

This service is available at these locations:

New Mexico
Clovis Portales

 

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