Published on May 11, 2018
“What can I do if I start losing or gaining weight during cancer treatment?” is a question clients have asked over the years.
Unfortunately, this issue causes greater anxiety than necessary.
On the one hand, “cachexia” (weight loss) is a common cancer side effect. On the other, chemo and steroids may increase appetite and cause fluid retention, leading to treatment-related weight gain, especially those with breast, prostate or ovarian cancers. Also, fatigue and decreased physical activity can also contribute to weight gain.
Cancer patients should increase their intake of vegetables and fresh fruit, and water is the most important nutrient in the diet. Proper hydration can alleviate common treatment side effects like constipation and fatigue. Also, with physician approval of course, a daily walk will help fatigue, weight maintenance and mobility.
My mom is a three-time cancer survivor, and I remember what her oncologist told her many years ago: “Gloria, let ME worry about your cancer treatment protocol. YOU focus on eating right, and giving your body the kind of fuel it needs all day long.”
She did, and never missed a day of work.
Let your food be your medicine.