When people think of cancer, they usually think of a frail, thinning body. However, many who have cancer or are undergoing treatment for cancer may find themselves actually gaining weight. How can that be?
Here are some reasons why some people may actually gain weight if they have cancer; many have to do with treatments, but some do not.
When it comes to treating cancer, chemotherapy takes no prisoners. As it works to eradicate the cancer, it can take its toll on other functions of the body and can leave one feeling exhausted and spent. With regard to gaining weight, many of the side effects of chemotherapy can lead to weight gain, including:
· Edema, the retention of excess body fluid
· Fatigue, making it hard to get up and exercise
· Nausea or vomiting that can be soothed by eating; this may trigger cravings of “comfort” foods that are rich in proteins, fats, and other nutrients
· A decrease in metabolism, which means fat is burned at a slower pace
Steroids are used to treat nausea, inflammation, and pain – but it can also lead to an increased appetite, muscle mass, and fatty tissue, especially around the belly and neck areas.
Hormonal therapy is used to treat a variety of cancers, such as prostate, testicular, and breast cancer. However, these medications decrease hormone levels in men (testosterone) and women (estrogen and progesterone), leading to an increase in fat and lowered metabolism.
Cancers that Cause Weight Gain
Certain cancers may cause patients to gain weight.
For example, women may gain weight if they have ovarian cancer. That’s because the cells in the ovaries start to reproduce and grow out of control, causing tumors. These tumors contain mass and also may start to bulge, giving the appearance of weight gain and actually registering on the scale.
Other cancers, such as bowel cancer, can create tumors that leave you constipated, and your bowel obstructed, affecting your ability to void or flush your system of excess waste and toxins.
In addition, many cancers will cause water retention (edema) that, in addition to making you weigh more, can leave you feeling bloated and out of sorts.
What You Can Do About Weight Gain Due to Your Cancer
If you are gaining weight due to cancer, you may be referred to a nutritionist or registered dietitian to design a plan to help you manage weight gain and fluid retention. This could include limiting fats, refined and processed foods, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, limiting salts and fried foods, and drinking plenty of water. You may also be referred to a trainer to help you devise a plan to exercise as best you can.
If your weight gain arose from cancer treatments, you may want to discuss treatments other than chemotherapy or radiation with your doctor. For many patients, CyberKnife provides a highly effective alternative to traditional cancer treatments, but with little to no side effects – including weight gain.
That’s because CyberKnife is a state-of-the-art, advanced radiosurgery technique that delivers high dosages of radiation that destroys tumors without damaging any healthy surrounding tissue. CyberKnife is noninvasive and has a very high success rate in treating nearly every kind of cancer. It’s especially effective when dealing with tumors in hard-to-reach areas of the body that otherwise might be at risk with regular radiation, traditional surgery, or chemotherapy treatments.
Why Choose CyberKnife Center of Miami?
As the most experienced and qualified CyberKnife treatment team in South Florida, the CyberKnife Center of Miami calls their treatment The Beam of Life™. The success rates of CyberKnife are extremely high, that’s because the treatment is so precise that tumors dissolve. If the tumors come back, we can often treat them again if necessary.
If you are seeking alternatives to conventional cancer surgery or radiation therapy, call the CyberKnife Center of Miami today to see if CyberKnife treatment is right for you. Call us today at (800) 204-0455 to schedule your appointment and go through our website to learn more. www.cyberknifemiami.com