Weight loss from cancer is a major problem in our everyday practice. Half of Cancer Patients Have Significant Weight Loss The type of weight loss associated cancer is alluded to as cancer cachexia where weight loss is involuntary, debilitating and associated with severe muscle loss. This has a major impact on quality of life and nearly 20% of cancer deaths are attributed to weight loss and not directly to Cancer.
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The significance of words:
Anorexia: Reduce appetite or reduce the desire to eat. Anorexia is present in 15% to 25% of all cancer patients at diagnosis.
Cachexia: the Net result that is seen as severe weight loss, loss of muscle and general weakness. Most cancer patients have both anorexia and cachexia. There are some who have a great appetite, but they continue to lose weight.
Why is it important to recognize and take action when you see weight loss from cancer patients?
Patients trying to lose weight feel better, have a better quality of life, improve their immunity, reduce their chances of infection, maintain their energy and strength, tolerate more good treatment and to have an increased capacity to recover and to cure quickly.
The reasons for weight loss from cancer:
- The detachment of nutrients in cancer cells and away from normal tissues and organs. It is very similar to a parasite in the body that supplies any food that is consumed.
- Cancer secretes chemicals that significantly reduce protein production and increase their destruction. Muscle loss and weight loss is the inevitable result.
- Side effects of treatment: mouth sores, dry mouth, swallowing problems, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, pain, depression and anxiety. Cancer drugs can cause patients to taste and smell different foods.
- Direct Cancer Result: Cancer of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach can cause physical pain and obstruction that causes patients to not eat and swallow food that leads to malnutrition.