Head and neck cancer is low on the public radar but this collection of over 10 types of cancer affects more than 5,000 Australians a year. It can affect a person’s identity like no other, leaving visible traces of the disease and its treatment on the face.
Symptoms and treatment can affect a person’s ability to taste, smell, chew and swallow, diminishing one of life’s great pleasures, the simple act of enjoying food.
That’s why Jane Alliker decided to pull together The Patient Chef, a recipe book by patients for patients, providing comfort through food.
Jane was working with Chris O’Brien at the Sydney Cancer Centre at the time. She saw a great need to support cancer patients through their journeys, both through the sharing of practical advice and by raising funds for much needed services and equipment.
Each recipe in the book was chosen because it made patients feel better and helped them begin to enjoy food again.
A number of celebrity chefs including Maggie Beer, Kylie Kwong, Peter Gilmore and Matt Moran, also contributed recipes. All of the recipes are designed to be easy to prepare, making it perfect for the home cook.
Patients also shared invaluable tips on dealing with the side effects of treatment so they could find more enjoyment in food, like sucking on frozen pineapple to relieve a metallic taste in the mouth or using manuka honey to treat mouth ulcers.
Every aspect of producing the book was donated including recipes, graphic design, editing, photography and printing by Random House. And every cent from the sale of the book goes towards supporting cancer patients at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.
World Head and Neck Cancer Day is Saturday 27 July. Help raise awareness of head and neck cancer as well as funds to support patients living with it by buying a copy of The Patient Chef from the Lifehouse shop today.