Why does cancer cause weight loss?
Why does cancer cause weight loss?
Cancer can cause weight loss to a great extent. Most cancer patients complain about weight loss either before the diagnosis of cancer or during the treatment. Cancer can cause almost 10 – 15 pounds of weight loss. Weight loss is majorly the loss of muscle mass and also fat from the body. The doctor refers this weight loss condition to cancer cachexia. The main reasons why cancer cause weight loss are:-
- Weight loss due to substances produced by cancer cells- Weight loss is associated with cancer because the cancer cells multiply. So the most of the body’s energy is spend multiplying the cells. These cells multiply at a fast rate. The cancer cells also produce substances called cytokines which affect the body weight.
This substance sends the body’s immune system into one drive. The cytokines are inflammatory in nature and affect the body’s immune system and also the metabolism of the body. This effect causes the shedding of body fat and muscles as well. The white fat is turned into brown fat and burns the energy that keeps your body warm. The reason why brown fat is formed by cancer cells is still unknown. The other reason for the weight loss is that cancer cells produce the substance called MIC-1 which causes your blood levels to rise 100 times more than the normal levels.
This MIC-1 is also found in non-cancerous patients but is a very small amount. The MIC-1 is the kind of protein that suppresses the appetite and food intake. The other substance produced by the cancer cells is PIF which gives signals to the body for muscle wasting and fat loss from the body.
- Weight loss due to cancer treatments– The cancer treatments like radiation therapy and chemotherapy also play a huge role in causing weight loss. The radiation emitted in chemotherapy and radiation therapy are major to destroy the cancer cells from the organs.
In this process, the body’s necessary cells also get damaged which causes a drastic change in the body weight. The blood cells, skin cells, and the cells from the intestines get damaged and these cells take a long time to repair. Our body takes a lot of time to regain the lost cells and overcome the weight loss.
The other reason for the weight loss due to treatments can be that such treatments decrease our appetite. The decrease in appetite is due to the pain, vomiting, nausea, changes in taste, and mouth sores from radiation therapy or chemotherapy. This causes the loss of nutrients from the food you intake.
You may also have difficulty chewing food or swallowing food due to sore throats. Many people also tend to eat less food due to such issues ultimately causing weight loss. Stress is also the biggest reason for weight loss. Cancer patients need to remain tense free and it is advised to spend maximum time with your family and stay happy. Life is a beautiful gift of God that needs to be preserved at any cost.
What type of cancer causes weight loss?
Weight loss is not linked with any specific type of cancer. The types of cancer which cause weight loss are
- Colon cancer– Colon is the necessary part of your digestive system and any changes in clone can cause a direct impact on your body weight. The weight loss in colon patients is the most evident symptom. The metabolism is desired and the body can’t digest the food properly.
- Breast cancer– Brest cancer side effects can cause weight loss. It is mostly observed that the patients with breast cancer who have been cured see weight loss as the aftereffect of breast cancer. You must keep in touch with the doctor and report any such changes if you have earlier suffered from breast cancer.
- Lung cancer- Lung cancer affects your body’s metabolism and decreases your appetite. People with lung cancer usually suffer from weight loss problems while treatment as many body cells get damaged during the treatments like radiation therapy and chemotherapy. The weight loss can also be seen at the very first stage of lung cancer. The reason is that there are not enough cells in the lungs so cancer takes most of the nutrition and cells away from the body causing lung cancer.
- Liver cancer- The liver has a great role in the digestive system. Liver cancer can cause vomiting can nausea which are the major reasons for weight loss. The mouth ulcers and fade taste in the smell are due to the side effects of the medication for liver cancer. All these reasons cause your body to lose almost 10 -1 5 pounds of weight.
- pancreatic cancer:– Most pancreatic cancer cells release a substance that gives the signal to your body to lose the fat content and the muscle content. The substance is called cytokines. The cytokines use the most body protein, fat, and carbohydrates in multiplying the cancer cells causing a lot of weight loss.
According to a Canadian survey, almost 80% of cancer patients with pancreatic cancer, esophageal cancer, or stomach cancer have reported a loss of a significant amount of weight by the time they were diagnosed with cancer. And almost 60% of cancer patients with lung cancer have reported a loss of a significant amount of weight by the time they were diagnosed with cancer.
Other reasons which cause weight loss are:-
The only symptom of cancer is not weighting. There are major other symptoms as well. And not all weight loss indicate cancer. There are other reasons as well which can cause weight loss even if you are not doing anything to lose weight. The other issues which can cause weight loss are stress from an event such as a divorce, a job change, or death of a friend or family member, eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia, overactive thyroid, infection such as tuberculosis, gastroenteritis, HIV/AIDS, depression, peptic ulcer and malnutrition
How to manage decreasing weight loss due to cancer?
- Increase the amount of food you eat– You are losing your body weight and your body needs more and more nutrients and vitamins. The body needs energy for itself and also for the cancer cells which are multiplying day by day. So you must eat more and more. Your diet should contain a maximum amount of nutrients and you should have only energy-giving food. If you are not able to eat more just because of a sore throat or another issue in your mouth you must opt for drinks, soups, and soft food which are easier to eat. You should have food you are easy to chew and intake.
- Avoid protein-rich food– The protein is required by your body the most but you must avoid protein-rich food. As you may experience nausea and vomiting just after the treatment. And if you have had protein-rich food your body will develop a dislike for that particular food item. So you can have the protein-rich food a few days later or in a small amount. You can have direct protein drinks and endure mass drinks which can balance the amount of protein required by your body.
- Be stress-free- You should be stress-free and not focus on the results a lot. The medication only works when the person himself or herself has the burning desire within themselves. You must be like a fighter ready you defect the disease with your willpower. The stress will cause no good and will only deteriorate your condition and will lead you to worse. You are advised to be happy and spend more and more good time with your family and friends.
- Record whatever you are eating- You must have a record of everything which you are eating because during this time you may be eating some which from which you may develop some allergy. Thus you must know what you have eaten so that doctor may guide you correctly and your condition may improve for the better. This will also help you to know which food item is mostly accepted by your body and which item your body dislikes. The conditions before and after chemotherapy may get changed. Our body is exposed to radiation which may damage our organs and blood cells to a large extent.
Scientists have been trying a lot to find the reason for the weight loss due to cancer but no research can prove the fact. Not, every weight loss is linked to cancer. If you have other symptoms as well which indicate cancer you must consult the doctor immediately. The other symptoms of cancer include:-
- loss of appetite
- difficulty swallowing
- frequent indigestion or heartburn
- yellowing of the skin
- persistent hoarseness
- worsening or persistent pain
- change in bowel habits
- gastrointestinal bleeding
You are advised to notice all the changes which occur in your body. The tumors have the power to multiply at the fastest rate. In a few days, these tumors get a chance to cancer. So, you need to immediately take steps to change your condition. Don’t feel that it is good that you are losing weight, a magic cant happen all of a sudden.