Weight Gain in Cancer Patients

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jan 13, 2013

Weight Gain in Cancer Patients

To be surviving from cancer and its dreadful side-effects is in itself severe agony. Imagine to also gain weight as a consequence of cancer in this world of size zero. Terrible! Let's understand why cancer patients gain weight and whether there are any ways we can reverse the trouble.


[Read: Side Effects of Chemotherapy Drugs]


What Causes Weight Gain in Cancer Patients


A cancer patient may put on unwanted weight because of the following reasons:

   1. People with certain types of cancer such as those of the pancreas, colon, breast, kidney, thyroid, etc are more likely to gain weight.
   2. Hormone therapy, certain types of chemotherapy and medication may cause weight gain. These treatments may also cause your body to retain water, which will make you feel puffy and theretby gain weight.
   3. Some treatments may also increase your appetite so you feel hungry and eat more.
   4. Cancer and its treatments may induce fatigue leading to a decrease in activity.


[Read: Types of Cancer Treatment]


Do not go on a diet to lose weight before consulting your doctor. He or she will help you figure out why you are gaining weight and discuss what you can do to prevent it.


Ways to Manage Weight Gain with Food


  1. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. These are high in fiber and low in calories. They can keep you full without adding a lot of calories.
  2. Eat foods that are high in fiber, such as whole grain breads, cereals, and pasta. People with certain types of cancer should not eat a lot of fiber, so check with your doctor before adding fiber to your diet.
  3. Choose lean meats, such as lean beef, pork trimmed of fat or poultry without skin. These include low-fat or non-fat yogurt and skim or 1% milk.
  4.  Eat less fat. Eat only small amounts of butter, mayonnaise, desserts, fried foods, and other high-calorie foods.
  5. Always broil, steam, grill or roast food.
  6. Eat small portion sizes. When you eat out, take half of your meal home to be eaten later.
  7. Eat less salt. This will keep you from retaining water if fluid retention is what is causing your weight gain.


Other Ways to Manage Weight Gain

   1. Discuss with a dietician about the ways you can limit salt intake if fluid retention is causing your weight gain.
   2. Exercise each day. Not only does exercise help you burn calories, it also helps the body to heal faster. Talk with your doctor or nurse about how much exercise you should do while undergoing cancer treatment.


When you are undergoing treatment for cancer, do not make modifications in your lifestyle unless being asked to by a doctor.


Read more articles on Understand Cancer



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