Sign In
  • ENG

Weight loss during cancer treatment and remission -- is it normal?

Weight loss during cancer treatment and remission is a cause of concern. Read to know what it means.

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Published : February 3, 2017 4:34 PM IST

Unexplained weight loss might indicate various health problems including cancer. And this is the reason, why you should never ignore unexplained weight loss. Most people are aware of the fact that cancer might lead to unexplained weight loss. However, one of the common queries is: can you lose weight during chemotherapy, radiation or remission. And what does it indicate? Is it normal? Well, to help you clear all your doubts on unexplained weight loss and cancer treatment and remission, we asked Dr Tejinder Singh, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Hemato-Oncologist, Fortis Hospital Mulund, Mumbai about the same and here is what he has to say.

Dr Singh says that any cancer patient, who has lost more than 10% of body weight over last six months and did not know the cause of it, might be a differential for cancer. And hence, it goes without saying that the patients should consult a doctor and get checked. However, weight loss during cancer treatment or remission is not considered a healthy sign as it might mean that the treatment is not working. Moreover, a cancer patient might not lose weight during chemotherapy or radiation. In fact, most people gain weight after starting the treatment for cancer, which is a key sign indicating that the treatment is working for the patient. You may also like to read latest research and advances in cancer treatment.

However, weight loss can happen in certain types of cancer namely head and neck cancers -- mouth, oral, tongue or nasopharyngeal cancer. It can also be seen in stage four cancer patients indicating that the treatment is not working (in some cases even patients in the initial stage do report weight loss). It is seen in some cases that radiation and chemotherapy can cause irritation and hinder healing of mouth ulcers. Around 80 - 90% of patients report a loss of taste after chemotherapy and radiation to the mouth. In such a case, a patient might lose 6 - 7 kgs in one to one and half months during cancer treatment as they find it difficult to swallow. Whereas, loss of taste due to chemotherapy improves over time and is usually adjusted as the family takes care of the food and diet of the patient. And as the condition improves, the person gains weight and not lose weight. However, with the help positive thinking, help from support group and consultation of dietician and nutrition, patients tend to gain weight. As far as remission is considered, weight loss is not a common occurrence as the condition improves post treatment. But any changes in weight during this stage should not be ignored and consulted to doctor at the earliest. Also read diet for cancer patients during and after treatment

Also Read

More News

Image Source: Shutterstock

Total Wellness is now just a click away.

Follow us on