Sunday, February 18, 2024

How To Gain Weight After Chemo And Radiation

What Cancer Treatments Can Cause Weight Gain

Sugar, Cancer, and Weight Gain From Steroids. Things U Learn In Chemo

Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, steroid treatment, and hormone treatments can lead to weight gain in different ways.

Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy can lead to weight gain by:

  • Causing the body to hold on to excess fluid, called edema.

  • Causing fatigue, making it harder to exercise.

  • Increasing nausea that improves by eating more food.

  • Triggering intense food cravings.

  • Lowering your metabolism. Metabolism is the rate that the body uses energy. When your metabolism is low, you burn less calories, which can make you gain weight.

  • Causing menopause, which also slows down your metabolism.

Steroid medications. Steroids are prescribed during cancer treatment for several reasons. This type of medication can reduce symptoms of inflammation, such as swelling and pain. They can treat nausea. And they can be used as a treatment for cancer itself, such as for multiple myeloma.

A common side effect of steroids is weight gain. Steroids can lead to weight gain by:

  • Increasing your appetite and making you eat more.

  • Increasing fat tissue in the abdomen, neck, face, or other areas with long-term use.

Do Other Breast Cancer Medications Cause Weight Gain

Hormone therapy is another treatment that can cause it. This treatment lowers the amount of estrogen and progesterone in women and the amount testosterone in men. It tends to cause an increase in body fat, too. At the same time, there’s a decrease in muscle mass and a change in the way your body converts food into energy.

Many women taking tamoxifen have felt the drug was responsible for their weight gain. So far, though, no conclusive studies have shown a relationship between this hormone and the gains.

Weight gain is not typical in women who’ve undergone surgery alone, or women who’ve had surgery followed by radiation alone.

Nutrition After Cancer Treatment Is Important For Recovery

Sub Heading

Nutrition after treatment is important for rebuilding your strength and energy during recovery.

Main Image
5 MIN. READ
Description

Now that you’ve finished treatment, it’s time to focus on getting stronger. Each form of cancer is different, and the same is true for the impact on the body from person to person. But one thing is consistent among all cancer survivors: Nutrition is just as important in recovery as it was during treatment.

How Cancer Treatment Affects the Body

Cancer treatment is accompanied by a handful of side effects that can affect nutritional status, such as:

Also, weight fluctuations are common during treatment, with many people experiencing nutrient deficiencies and malnutrition.

Following a balanced diet during cancer treatment can help keep you strong, but it’s not always easy to get all the nutrients you need with these symptoms in the equation. That’s why nutrition during recovery can become even more important.

“When you finish your treatment, you may still be at risk for malnutrition and depleted muscle mass,” explained Abby Sauer, MPH, RD, an Abbott dietitian. “After treatment, some side effects may go away pretty quickly.” For instance, a sore or dry mouth may subside within a week after treatment, but poor appetite or weight loss may linger for weeks or months, according to Sauer.

Is your nutrition foundation strong?Nutritional Assessment Checklist

Weight Loss

Weight Gain

Protein is Key

Recovery: Tips for Maintaining Good Nutrition

Recommended Reading: Prostate Cancer Treatment Radiation Seeds

How To Gain Weight After Chemotherapy

Weight loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy, and gaining weight can be more challenging than you may think. After chemotherapy treatments, people sometimes experience dry mouth, mouth sores, trouble swallowing and have changes in tastes and smells, according to the American Cancer Society. These side effects can make it difficult to eat. Talk with your doctor about ways to manage these side effects so that eating and regaining your strength is easier.

Eat your favorite foods. Eating your favorite foods, such as comfort foods, can help stimulate your appetite, says the National Cancer Institute. If the foods do not taste good, try adding spice, salt and pepper. Eat your favorite foods until you feel that you can try other foods.

Talk with your doctor about taking an anti-nausea medication. There are different types of anti-nausea medications that can help relieve the nausea and will help you be able to eat without feeling sick. When you aren’t feeling sick, you will be more likely to eat enough to gain weight.

Eat five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day, according to the American Cancer Society. Dark green, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and yellow vegetables contain folate, iron, calcium and vitamins A, C and K that are essential to improving your immune system and keeping you healthy.

How Important Is Exercise

Why Am I Gaining Weight During Cancer Treatment?

It’s really good for your overall health — but talk to your doctor before you begin any exercise program.

Physical activity can often help reduce the side effects of nausea and fatigue. It can also lift your energy levels. One study found that exercise after chemotherapy might boost infection-fighting T cells, too.

Even a moderate amount of exercise may help you live longer.

Strength training can help rebuild body mass and increase your strength. You need to take care when working with weights on the upper body, though. That’s because lymphedema — arm swelling — is a common concern after breast cancer treatment.

Show Sources

Recommended Reading: How To Use Panacur C For Cancer

If You Have Lost Weight

You may have lost weight due to cancer, or the side effects of treatment. You may not feel hungry, or feel full soon after starting eating. Some people may feel sick, or find that foods taste different.

Some types of cancer make your body use up more energy, even if you are not very active. You may lose weight even if you are eating well. If you lose too much, it is important to talk to a dietitian.

The building-up diet is high in energy and protein. It can help you add extra energy and protein to your food without having to eat more. It is for people who have lost or are losing weight, or who can only eat small amounts.

Your doctor or dietitian may also recommend food supplements. These include nutritional drink, soups, powders, or puddings that can help you get extra nutrients and calories.

Promoting Weight Gain During Cancer Treatment

Many cancer patients experience weight loss during cancer treatment. It can be a result of the cancer itself or nutrition related side effects that affect your food intake, such as nausea, taste changes, and decreased appetite. Weight loss during treatment is linked to more hospitalizations, delays in treatment, and malnutrition. A common concern for caregivers and patients alike is how to promote weight gain in a healthy way. During and after cancer treatment, it is important to provide your body with adequate nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals. In this article, we will provide tips to promote weight gain while eating a healthy balanced diet.

Weight loss does not have to be an uncontrollable outcome of cancer treatment. Using these tips above and focusing on your nutrition related side effects can be the difference between weight loss and weight gain. It is important to not get discouraged if you see the number going down on the scale. Having a positive attitude and being proactive about your nutrition can make a big difference. Create a nutrition plan with the help of your oncology dietitian and medical team and dont be afraid to ask for help when you need it!

Visit LUNGevitys website to learn more about Ina®. Click here to sign-up for Ina®.

Submit your questions here and the experts at Savor Health may answer it in an upcoming blog!

Also Check: Tooth Pain That Radiates To Ear

After Treatment Be Prepared For Change

The end of treatment brings pivotal changes, both mental and physical, for cancer survivors, including a recommended switch back to a mostly plant-based diet to manage their weight. Just like other healthy people, survivors should follow the MyPlate recommendations to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables and split the remaining half between grains and protein.

For survivors, its still very important to make sure their weight is a healthy weight, Ms. Gerdes says, explaining that this group may be at higher risk for other health conditions, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. We want to make sure that once theyve gotten over the hump of treatment that they continue forward with a healthy diet, at a healthy weight, with a healthy lifestyle.

Ms. Stella adds: Recommendations about weight management are patient specific, and there is no meal plan thats right for everyone. Patients undergoing active treatment will always be instructed to maintain or gain weight, while some survivors may be instructed to lose weight. Its always best to check with your primary doctor to determine if weight loss, gain, or maintenance is best.

Drink Plenty Of Liquids

Weight Gain After Cancer

Hydration is an important aspect of a healthy radiation diet. It is recommended that individuals drink 3-4 quarts of liquids every day. Drinking lots of water is especially important if you experience diarrhea during radiation therapy.

Good hydration flushes toxins out of the body and reduces treatment side effects such as nausea, weakness, bowel changes, and fatigue, says Komar. Staying hydrated can also help keep a patient from going into the cancer center for IV hydration.

Keep a filled water bottle with you at all times and drink, drink, drink. Some Jello, pudding, popsicles and juice products are additional hydration sources, but be cautions of their sugar content. If you do not care for the taste of water, try sneaking water into soup broths, fruit shakes, and flavored teas.

Don’t Miss: Low-dose Chemo Hair Loss

Engage In Physical Exercises

Physical exercises help in building muscle and improving energy levels. If you are tired and weak, start with at least three minutes of walking and build up from there. Some exercises you can do while sitting that can improve your strength and flexibility include making a fist and moving your arms up and down and front to back.

Put The Brakes On Supplement Use

Eating whole foods, and getting the nutrients your body needs from them, is the gold standard of nutrition. In fact, vitamins and other supplements which arent regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration or any agency can actually interfere with certain cancer treatments and medications.

It depends on what treatment youre on and what supplement youre taking, Ms. Gerdes says, but supplements are definitely something we want our patients to avoid most of the time because theyre taking so many medications, we dont know whats going to interact with them.

Be honest with your medical team about vitamins or herbal supplements youve been taking in any form, whether pills, shakes, or powders. To educate yourself on herbs and potential adverse reactions or interactions with treatment, visit MSKs About Herbs webpage.

Also Check: Best Gloves For Chemo Patients

Learning About How Chemotherapy Affects Your Weight

  • 1Recognize symptoms of digestive system cell loss. Chemotherapy is given through the bloodstream to kill fast growing cells throughout the entire body. This can interfere with your digestive tracts natural ability to function, which can trigger weight loss. Simple changes in your digestive tract can cause:XResearch source
  • Dry mouth or swelling in the mouth
  • Changes in the ability to taste food
  • Fatigue and constipationXResearch source
  • Dental and gum problemsXTrustworthy SourceAmerican Cancer SocietyNonprofit devoted to promoting cancer research, education, and supportGo to source
  • Nervous system damage
  • 2Realize how cancer can cause you to lose weight. Some tumors produce small proteins that can reduce your appetite and cause nausea. You may also lose your appetite simply from the anxiety of dealing with the disease. This lack of appetite can lead to weight loss.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Cancer SocietyNonprofit devoted to promoting cancer research, education, and supportGo to source You should know that:XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Cancer SocietyNonprofit devoted to promoting cancer research, education, and supportGo to source
  • Not everyone gets the same side effects from the same medications.
  • The severity of the side effects will also vary.
  • There are medications and choices you can make that will help prevent and alleviate some of the side effects.
  • Although side effects are unpleasant, they must be weighed against the benefits of treating the cancer.
  • Making High Calorie Drinks

    Pin on remedies
  • 1Add protein powders to drinks. Protein powder can be added to drinks. This increase their total calories while upping your protein, which can help you gain weight healthily if you have cancer.XTrustworthy SourceCancer Research UKU.K.-based cancer research and advocacy charityGo to source
  • Go for nutritionally based powders and protein-specific powders over energy powders.
  • You can add a teaspoon of protein powder to virtually any drink, from milk to juice to a soft drink. Most protein powders are tasteless, so they won’t cause the drink to taste any different. However, you may notice a slight change in texture.
  • 2Make your own smoothies. You can make nutritious, high calorie smoothies by mixing milk or yogurt with an array of fruits and vegetables in a blender. Experiment with portions and ingredients until you find something that tastes good to you. You can also buy ready made smoothies at many supermarkets.XTrustworthy SourceUniversity of Rochester Medical CenterLeading academic medical center in the U.S. focused on clinical care and researchGo to source
  • 3Drink something with calories with meals. Try to have a drink that contains calories with meals instead of simple water. Go for something somewhat nutritious, however. Sugary beverages, like soft drinks, can be bad for cancer patients. Instead, go for whole milk, juice without added sugar, or a low sugar sports drink like Gatorade.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source
  • Don’t Miss: Side Effects From Radiation Treatments

    Causes Of Weight Gain With Chemotherapy

    The reasons a patient may gain weight while receiving chemotherapy include:

    • Chemotherapy may cause swelling , leading the body to retain extra fluid. This is also known as fluid retention or lymphedema.
    • You may feel hungrier while undergoing chemotherapy, or you may feel nauseous and then relief when you eat.
    • You may be exercising less because chemotherapy causes you to feel fatigued.
    • Chemotherapy may cause menopause in some women, which may lead to a decrease in metabolism.
    • Certain types of cancer, such as ovarian cancer, are associated with weight gain.
    • Your doctor may prescribe steroid medication during chemotherapy treatment. Steroids may help lower inflammation and treat nausea. However, steroids also may increase your appetite and fullness in the abdomen, face and neck.
    • For breast, prostate, testicular or uterine cancer, you also may receive hormone therapy. These therapies may lower the amount of estrogen or progesterone in females and testosterone in men. Lowering these hormones may cause you to increase fat while lowering your metabolism and muscle mass.
    • A cancer diagnosis may lead you to feel more stress, and that may prompt you to eat more and put on weight.

    Be sure to schedule regular checkups and screenings for other conditions while youre on chemotherapy, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, as they may also be related to weight gain.

    Tips To Help Maintain A Healthy Weight During Cancer Treatment

    This page adheres to our medical and editorial policy and guidelines.

    Cancer, its symptoms and the side effects of treatments may take a toll on a patients appetite, making it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, taste changes and mouth sores are side effects that can make it difficult to eat. Cancer also affects the bodys metabolism. In its attempt to fight the disease, the body may expend more energy, making it necessary for the patient to consume more calories to maintain a healthy weight. Cancer also produces molecules called cytokines that may change the way the body processes food energy, causing a decreased appetite and weight and muscle loss.

    To help patients maintain or gain weight during cancer treatment, Zachari Breeding, an Advanced Clinical Oncology Dietitian at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® in Philadelphia, advises that they find ways to increase the number of calories they consume. You cant eat what you used to, Breeding says. You must eat for your new body with cancer.

    Muscle loss is also a concern because research shows it may weaken the bodys immune function, Breeding says. If youre losing muscle secondarily because you cant meet the bodys protein and energy needs, youre also compromising the immune system, which may make treatment side effects worse, further causing you not to eat and lose weight. Eating plenty of protein is also key to staving off muscle loss, he says.

    You May Like: Urine Test For Cancer Cells

    How Can Your Diet Help Manage Cancer Treatment Side Effects

    Some dietary changes can help you manage side effects after your treatment begins. These side effects include:

    • Appetite loss. Eat small meals or nutritious snacks throughout the day, rather than three large meals.
    • Constipation. Drink plenty of water, consider a fiber supplement, and add veggies and beans to your meals.
    • Diarrhea. Choose foods or drinks with sodium and potassium .
    • Loss of taste. Knowing what to eat when you cant taste can be difficult. Consider trying new foods with different spices or marinades. You can also add strong flavors, such as lemon or lime juice.
    • Nausea. Anti-nausea foods include citrus, ginger and peppermint oil. You can suck on a slice of lemon, drink ginger tea or eat ginger chews.

    Strong Emotions Can Go Along With Weight Gain

    Losing Weight After Breast Cancer Treatment

    Its normal to feel anxiety about body changes like weight gain. Youre right to have any feelings you have, including:

    • Self-consciousness

    Sometimes, when our bodies are under more stress than normal, weight changes can occur. It is important to remember that you need to give yourself some time to adjust to these changes. Make sure that you are fueling your body in a healthy way while remaining active.

    Read Also: Best Gifts For Someone Going Through Chemo

    Latest news
    Related news