Cancer related metabolic changes are considered a primary driving force behind decreases in appetite. Those metabolic changes also result in a loss of lean muscle mass causing weakness, fatigue and weight loss. 

To avoid delays in conventional treatment due to these symptoms it is imperative to develop an preventative treatment plan.

There are three main causes of weight loss during cancer:  

  1. Lean body mass loss due to cancer related metabolic changes, called cachexia.
  2. Treatment related (chemotherapy, radiation, surgery) weight loss resulting in side-effects such as appetite suppression, metallic taste, etc. 
  3. Psychosocial stressors such as stress, nervousness, depression that is common when receiving a cancer diagnosis, resulting in loss of appetite.  

If you or your loved one is suffering from weight loss due to cancer, treatment and/or mental health factors, the first step before treating is determining the cause.

Figuring out the root cause of your weight loss.  

  • Are you actively in cancer treatment?  
  • Are the side-effects from treatment affecting how you eat?  
  • Do you have feelings of depression, sadness, nervousness, is this causing a lack of appetite? 
  • Do you have unexplained weight loss?

If your weight loss is due to treatment side-effects or psychosocial components, please schedule a telemedicine appointment with Dr. McMurry to determine the best natural treatments for you. 

This article will go into treatment options for those who are experiencing weight loss due to  cancer metabolism.

Cancer related metabolic changes are considered a primary driving force behind decreases in appetite.  Those metabolic changes also result in a loss of lean muscle mass causing weakness, fatigue and weight loss.  To avoid delays in conventional treatment due to these symptoms it is imperative to develop a preventative treatment plan.

What can you DO as a patient or caregiver?

Fish oil

Taking 2.2 grams or more of fish oil daily has been shown to stabilize weight loss, attenuate lean tissue wasting and increase survival in patients with advanced cancer.  The type and purity of your supplemental fish oil is incredibly important.

Mediterranean Diet

Following breast cancer treatment, implementing the Mediterranean diet has been shown to optimize weight loss/gain in cancer patients. 

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)

Supplementation with glutamine and arginine may have some efficacy in alleviating weight loss due to cancer.  

Melatonin

Melatonin has been shown to slow tumor growth and weight loss in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer receiving chemotherapy. 

For additional natural treatment options to prevent conventional treatment side-effects, psychosocial support and individualized supplementation instructions please schedule a telemedicine appointment with Dr. McMurry.

In addition to the information above, the best supportive care before, during and after cancer treatment should be a multimodal approach including nutritional counseling, optimal symptom management and careful psychosocial counseling. 

This information above is not intended to diagnose or treat medical conditions, it is provided solely for informational purposes.  If you have specific questions related to your treatment or are planning to change your medical plan, first discuss this with your medical provider. 

If you are interested in exploring integrative cancer treatment options please schedule a telemedicine appointment with Dr. McMurry.  

Dr. McMurry’s goal is to increase access to naturopathic preventative medicine. She provides on-site workplace preventative health appointments to employees. As well as telemedicine (virtual video) appointments to cancer patients seeking integrative naturopathic cancer care.

If you’re interested in learning more about what she does and/or who she is please feel free to email her at info@naturopathiccancertreatment.com.

Resources:

Murphy, R., et al. Nutritional Intervention with fish oil provides a benefit over standard of care for weight and skeletal muscle mass in patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer receiving chemotherapy. Cancer. April 15, 2011.

Kohli, N. Anorexia-Cachexia Syndrome – a Naturopathic Perspective. OncANP. August 2016.

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