Cancer and weight loss are interrelated. Read this article for an idea on cancer and the unexplained weight loss that occurs as a result.

Cancer And Weight Loss

“If you're going through hell, keep going” said Winston Churchill to all the cancer patients around the world, who were looking for some encouragement and inspiration. Cancer is the unlimited multiplication of body cells that leads to tumours, causes harm to tissues and organs and mostly results in death. A very serious consequence of cancer is unexplained weight loss that leaves the patient weak and lifeless. Sometimes, a significant amount of weight reduction may be the major reason for that long neglected health check-up that unfortunately discovers cancer. Weight loss occurs due to the inability of the body to maintain any form of nutrition. If you are a cancer patient or know someone who is affected with this illness then please note that cancer treatment is severely affected by weight issues. Also, the treatment may lead to serious protein-calorie malnutrition. View the next section, to know more about the relationship between cancer and weight-loss!
Cancer And Unexplained Weight Loss
  • How do you identify weight loss? Fatigue, weakness, loss of energy and inability to perform any tasks.
  • Statistics show that 40% of the people in the world diagnosed with cancer report unexplained weight loss at the time of inspection while about 80% report it in advanced stages, also called cachexia (wasting). Symptoms include weakness and progressive weight loss, compromised intolerance to cancer and finally death. 
  • Anorexia may also set in when a person stops eating due to a loss in appetite. This automatically leads to high amount of loss of weight. The tumour shows in the early stages of cancer and becomes malignant if not treated. Decreased nutrition intake leads to malnutrition, wasting of muscles and exhaustion from hunger.
  • Both anorexia and cachexia mostly occur together; they sometimes occur separately under different conditions such as ingesting inadequate calories or protein.
  • Other cancer related causes leading to weight loss include: changes in metabolism, nausea and vomiting, infection, constipation, mouth ulcers, depression etc.
  • Sometimes, chemotherapy also makes the person lose weight drastically.
  • Remedies for controlling cancer related weight loss are important for the treatment and the well being of the person. Some of them include: increasing food intake by 450 calories, receiving food directly into the stomach or eating light meals (avoid protein) before the therapy begins itself.
  • Doctors recommend Megace, a progesterone hormone that improves appetite and helps in weight gain. Another medication is a pancreatic enzyme replacement (lipase) that helps the body in absorbing fat.
Nutritional Review
  • Many cancer patients believe that they need to change their diets (eat less) for relief from the illness. But dieting, under such conditions, must be avoided at all costs. A few healthy changes in your lifestyle are what you want to improve the quality of life.
  • Alcohol may be administered to the patient as it helps in increasing appetite but only in limited quantity or else it may interact with the medicines and cause further harm to the body. Drinking alcohol before and during the time of radiation therapy is forbidden.
  • Water intake in large quantities is a must during chemotherapy to keep the body sufficiently hydrated.
  • The body can also feel famished and stop reacting to the cancer treatment or medications if the vitamin and other supplements, administered to the patient, start interfering with the therapy
  • Cancer patients are advised to have small servings of about 5-6 meals a day to keep their metabolism active. High calorie snacks such as cheese sticks, salad dressings, vegetable oils, baked potatoes and sour cream along with butter or margarine can also be consumed for weight gain but only with prior consultation with the doctor!
These are some of the causes, symptoms, treatment and tips for weight loss during cancer. Hope some of it helps!

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