Why Does Cancer Cause Weight Loss?
It is very typical to see someone battling cancer or receiving treatment for cancer lose a significant amount of weight. That raises the question, why does cancer cause weight loss?
The following are the primary topics that will be discussed throughout this article:
Cancer and unexplainable weight loss
Why does cancer cause weight loss?
How fast does it happen?
When should you be worried about unexplained weight loss?
What nutrients are most important in cancer? How do they help?
How to manage weight loss while having cancer?
Cancer And Unexplainable Weight Loss
Many people who have cancer weight loss experience unexplained weight loss. According to studies, it is believed that more than forty percent of people experience unexplained weight loss when they are first diagnosed with cancer weight loss. In essence, weight loss in cancer weight loss can be classified into two types.
The first type of cancer weight loss is still considered normal and treatable, and it is caused by a calorie deficiency in the body due to the loss of appetite that cancer patients experience. This condition can be reversed with proper nutrition and a healthy diet during cancer treatment.
The second type of unexplained and rapid weight loss is known as cachexia. Patients with cachexia will experience a cancer weight loss of a significant amount of skeletal muscle, an increase in their metabolism, exhaustion, and loss of appetite. This occurs due to more advanced kinds of cancer, and it is impossible to entirely reverse the condition with nutrition alone.
Different types of cancer have different statistics regarding cancer weight loss, with upper gastrointestinal cancers having the highest percentage. Upper gastrointestinal cancers such as stomach, esophagus, and liver cancer generally have an average 80% cancer weight loss possibility.
Why Does Cancer Cause Weight Loss?
To better understand why cancer causes weight loss, we need to look at the issue from three different angles: the weight loss that is linked with the disease itself, the weight loss that is associated with cancer treatment, and other contributing factors.
Weight loss associated with cancer itself
According to a study, over 38% of individuals who experienced unexplained weight loss were primarily suffering from cancer of the digestive system. Is sushi good for weight loss or tumor might obstruct a passageway that hampers swallowing or creates a sense of fullness?
Cancer could also impact the functioning of your hormones, disrupting the signaling process that informs you when your body requires nutrients. This implies that you may not feel the urge to eat, even when your body craves it.
Weight loss associated with cancer treatment
The second reason for cancer weight loss in cancer patients is the treatment itself, which may include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiotherapy, or other options. These therapies can cause unpleasant side effects such as nausea and vomiting and alterations in smell and taste, ultimately resulting in a lack of appetite.
After a cancer weight loss diagnosis, a patient may experience various physiological symptoms, including stress, pain, and depression, which can contribute to weight loss. It has been discovered that feelings of stress and depression cause a person's metabolism to speed up as a result of the 'flight or fight reaction while at the same time reducing their hunger. Both of these conditions will result in a reduction in the amount of weight carried by the body.
How Fast Does Weight Loss Happen?
Rapid weight loss can occur in patients who have not been diagnosed with an illness within six months to one year. The length of time it takes to complete varies on the type of cancer and the degree to which it has progressed.
However, because of the potential side effects of treatment, patients who are currently receiving treatment may experience cancer weight loss, albeit a moderate amount, within the first few weeks of medication. It is of the utmost importance that you have your weight checked immediately if there is any sign of sudden cancer weight loss and that you maintain your weight within a healthy range so that it does not impede your recovery.
When Should You Be Worried About Unexplained Weight Loss?
Whether you should be concerned about your cancer weight loss depends on the condition. If you experience unexplained weight loss of more than 5% of your body weight in 6 to 12 months, it is advisable to consult a physician as this could be a symptom of cancer.
It is also important to be cautious about excessive weight loss during cancer treatment, as significant weight loss is associated with a lower chance of survival.
If you notice a weekly weight loss of more than 2 to 3 pounds or more than 5% of your body weight in a year while undergoing treatment, it is recommended to reach out to the members of your care team.
What Nutrients Are Most Important In Cancer? How Do They Help?
Protein is essential for developing, maintaining, and repairing human tissue and properly functioning our immune systems. If your body does not receive enough protein, it may resort to breaking down muscle to obtain the fuel it requires. Because of this, getting better after an illness takes more time and can make one less resistant to infection.
Cancer patients typically have an increased requirement for protein. In most cases, additional protein is required to facilitate the healing of tissues and aid in the fight against infection after undergoing medical procedures such as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.
Omega-3 can inhibit proteolysis or the breaking down of protein in the body. So not only will this reduce the rate of muscle deterioration in cancer patients, but it will also preserve the body’s protein in general.
Vitamins and minerals
You'll get plenty of vitamins and minerals from a balanced diet. Cancer treatment side effects might make eating a healthy diet difficult. Your doctor or dietician may recommend a multivitamin and mineral supplement if you encounter treatment side effects. If you've lost weight because of treatment, inform your doctor.
Antioxidants include the vitamins A, C, and E; the minerals selenium and zinc; and certain enzymes that may absorb and attach themselves to free radicals (destructive chemicals), preventing them from damaging normal cells.
To increase your intake of antioxidants, it is recommended by health professionals that you eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
Why does cancer cause weight loss? It could be associated with the disease's nature or the cancer treatment's effects that cause appetite loss.
There are ways to manage cancer weight loss during cancer, but this could be difficult, as patients will experience loss of appetite due to cancer treatments. Nevertheless, managing cancer weight loss is crucial because the body will need extra calories and energy for recovery, proper nutrition, and the appropriate cancer treatment.
At what stage of cancer does weight loss occur?
Most cancer patients experience weight loss at some stage of their illness. Weight loss can serve as an initial indication of cancer, but it can also happen during treatment or in later stages. The individual's eating patterns may undergo alterations.
How fast do you lose weight if you have cancer?
Unexplained, swift weight loss can indicate cancer or other health issues. Mayo Clinic advises consulting a doctor if you lose over 5% of your body weight in six months to a year. For instance, if you weigh 160 pounds, 5% amounts to 8 pounds.
What is cancer weight loss like?
Cancer cachexia refers to weight loss resulting from an elevated calorie requirement in the body, commonly associated with cancer or its treatment. Individuals with cachexia experience muscle and fat loss, weakness, fatigue, and limitations in their regular activities.
Do you always lose weight if you have cancer?
While weight loss is common in cancer patients, it's important to note that not all individuals experience significant weight loss. For some cancers, treatments like chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and certain medications such as steroids, can lead to weight gain. These can cause fluid retention or increased appetite, resulting in increased food intake and subsequent weight gain.
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