Feeding stent pain

Hello, my mother in law was diagnosed with Oesophageal cancer 1 month ago- she has not yet had a follow up appointment with anyone in the Oncology team and as far as she has shared with the family is unaware of the stage the cancer is at (there is a very strong reluctance to discuss the situation). She has been struggling to eat/drink so had a feeding tube fitted last week- however she is still in such severe pain that even taking painkillers is taking 30-40mins at a time to consume and she is then not wanting or able to take in any soup or other form of nutrition.

I'm not sure if this level of pain is normal- she has not had a follow up nurse visit booked and we are wondering what the best course of action is- we don't want her to go much longer with no real food consumed but don't seem to be able to touch the pain- she wasn't expecting it to be this bad I don't think.

She has a meeting with the Oncology team later this week but any suggestions/advice in the meantime would be welcomed.

  • Hello and thank you for posting. I am sorry to hear what your mother-in-law is going through with her oesophageal cancer diagnosis, it is so difficult to see someone suffering.

    I would suggest you, or someone in the family, clearly explain to her hospital team about her pain and nutrition needs. They are the experts in this illness so in the best position to prescribe appropriate medications or refer her to other teams who can help get her symptoms controlled better. Medicines can be given in other ways, like liquids or patches, and doses can be changed.

    We have further information on our website about pain and cancer and living with eating problems in oesophageal cancer. But, her team must understand what she is going through so they can help.

    When she meets the oncology team I would expect that she will be made aware of the staging of her oesophageal cancer, or they may have further tests they need to do to establish it. This information then helps them decide, along with looking at the general health of the person, what treatment they can offer. Getting her nutrition needs sorted and pain controlled better will be part of getting her suitable for any treatments they plan to give her. 

    Take care and hopefully, your mother-in-law will become more comfortable soon. Please get back to us if you need any more information or support.  You may find it helpful to talk things through with one of the nurses on our helpline.  The number to call is Freephone 0808 800 4040 and the lines are open from 9 am till 5 pm Monday to Friday.