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Weight Change

It is common to experience weight changes before, during and after cancer treatment. Perhaps you lost weight prior to your cancer diagnosis. Or you may have struggled with weight for many years. You may find that as a result of surgery, chemotherapy, treatment side effects, new medications, less physical activity or depression you have gained weight. Some of these changes will be temporary and some may last much longer. Please talk to your health care team if you are concerned either about weight loss or gain. They will have suggestions to help to determine the causes of your weight gain or loss and then work with you to find solutions that are specific for your situation.

Weight issues can be a very personal thing. If you want to lose weight, you might find that being on a strict diet and exercise plan may not blend well with your cancer treatment at this time. Your doctor may not want you to lose or gain too much weight during treatment. Above all, focusing on good nutrition and reasonable physical activity may be your best approach to a weight issue. Research has shown that obesity can result in cancer recurrence in some types of cancer. Eating healthy during and after cancer is an excellent way to improve your health and well-being with and beyond cancer.

Talk with your doctor about what concerns you and work together to identify the reasons for your weight loss or gain and talk about solutions. You may want to consult with a registered dietitian to develop an eating and nutrition plan that works well for you.

Coping with Weight Gain

  • Eat foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans that are low in calories and high in fiber to help you feel full.
  • Eat smaller portions of food.
  • Eat only when you are hungry.
  • Exercise regularly.

Coping with Weight Loss

  • Eat more small meals instead of three big meals/day.
  • Keep high calorie foods and drinks nearby for times when you are hungry or have an appetite.
  • Plan your largest meal for a time when you are likely to be hungriest.
  • Snack regularly even when you are not hungry.
  • Exercise lightly to increase your appetite.
  • Drink beverages between meals rather than with the meals.