Winning the Fight Against Weight Loss...

12-09-2010 8:51 AM

The National Cancer Institute estimates that the loss of appetite occurs in about 15-25% of all cancer patients.  Weight loss prior to treatment can cause a cancer patient to be deficient in carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Without the necessary levels of these nutrients in the body, cancer treatment side effects can be worse and the risk of infection is increased.

Many studies have shown that weight loss prior to cancer treatment can also lead to a poor prognosis. Eating the right kinds of foods in the right amount before starting treatment can prevent malnutrition and help with recovery from cancer treatment side effects.

Food as medicine 

Prior to treatment and even during cancer treatment a poor appetite can cause weight loss. It is important to view food and its components as medicine. Make sure you get 6-8 small meals daily for your "drug" to fight weight loss.

Nutrient rich foods 

Make sure each of your 6-8 meals is calorically dense. Nibbling on crackers is great but adding some peanut butter or cheese can make it a higher calorie and higher protein snack. Add eggs or cheese to a casserole to make it more power packed. Sour cream or extra butter can make mashed potatoes a high calorie choice as well.

Comfort foods 

During treatment there will be days when you feel better. Eat more food on these days to make up for what you can't eat on your bad days. Eat foods that make you feel good and eat with people that make you comfortable. Ask family members or caregivers to cook for you when you are too tired or too sick to do so yourself.

For more tips go to Appetite Loss | Cancer.Net. Also, if the taste of food has effected your appetite check out my posts on November 19th and December 2nd for tips. Next week: The Obesity and Cancer connection 

Page last updated: 2/18/2015 10:35:58 AM