Defying conventional wisdom and giving cancer patients liquid food after surgery could lead to faster recoveries and millions of pounds in savings, according to research.
Liquid food delivered directly into intestines led patients to recover three days quicker than if they had been given the usual course of fasting for 10 days, research to be presented at Birmingham’s National Cancer Research Institute Conference found.
Some 121 victims of oesophagus, pancreas and stomach cancer were involved in the research, which also found that post-surgery complications such as infections were less common in patients given food soon after surgery.
The study was led by Cardiff University and the University Hospital of Wales, and funded by a grant from the Health Foundation
Lead investigator Dr Rachael Barlow, from Cardiff University, said: “In our trial we turned the traditional thinking to starve patients after major gastrointestinal surgery on its head and have found huge benefits.
“Importantly, patients who were given the nutrition were more likely to be healthier and have a better quality of life in the months after surgery.”