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Change in appetite may occur either at early stages or advanced stages of colon cancer. Appetite problem ranges from mild to severe. You may have poor appetite or even appetite loss that will make you eat less, easier to feel full when eating, or no feel hungry at all.
If this appetite problem persists, you are at high risk of unintended weight loss, poor nutrient supply that can cause malnutrition, and even cachexia (both weight loss & muscles mass loss).
Advanced colon cancer stages may lead to an emergency condition called bowel obstruction. This can be partly or totally obstruction. It can make you feel full easier even though after eating a small amount.
Decreased appetite may also occur due to side effect of the cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
The effect of some cancer treatments can vary from patient to patient. But decreased appetite is a common side effect.
Furthermore, some patients may also experience other side effects that can contribute to weight loss without trying.
For instances, radiation therapy could pose the risk of difficulty in swallowing (throat problem). The similar thing goes for chemotherapy. Some chemotherapy drugs may cause dry mouth that can make the mouth very sore. All these things can affect the way of how you eat, causing difficulty in eating.
The metastatic cancer
As well we know that advanced stages of the disease is more difficult to treat than when the cancer is still at early stages.
Advanced stages in colon cancer means there are more parts of the body affected by cancer – even the cancer may have spread to distinct organs. Liver and lungs are common distinct organs where cancer cells from colon to spread.
The cancer that has spread to other parts of the body is medically called metastatic cancer. Weight loss also can be one of the symptoms of late stages colon cancer!
The treatment plan is usually dependent on the cause. But in general, the following are the common treatment options:
- Increase the amount of food in your diet. Discuss with your doctor about how much more you should eat to regain you weight safely!
- Avoid eating foods rich in protein shortly before you take your chemotherapy or other cancer treatments. If you need to eat, eat only light meals! These can help reduce the chance of having nausea or vomiting.
- Prescribed medicines! Some medicines are available to boost appetite, regain weight, and improve sense of well-being. These include steroid medications to help with nausea, Reglan to reduce feeling of fullness, pancreatic enzyme replacement to help absorb fat, and Megace (a progesterone hormone to improve appetite) – ask your doctor for more advice!
Nutrition counseling can help, too. This counseling is essential to make sure patients get plenty of daily nutrients what their body needs.