Why Does Lung Cancer Cause Weight Loss?

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  1. Esophagus, tube that connects the mouth and stomach, is pretty close to the lung. And therefore there is a chance for cancer to travel and spread from the lung to the esophagus. If lung cancer has spread to the esophagus, you can have a condition called dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing). This can affect the way of how you swallow your foods, decreases your appetite, and therefore you are likely to eat less.
  2. Liver is one of common places where advanced lung cancer spreads to. The affected liver may cause feeling of fullness, appetite loss, or feeling sick after eating rich foods. All these things can contribute to lose your weight.
  3. The pain of metastatic bone cancer. Lung cancer itself can cause some discomforts, including pain. But if it has spread to the bones and caused a secondary bone cancer, this can be more painful. These discomforts can affect your appetite, too.

Cancer treatments

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Appetite loss and weight loss can be side effects of some cancer treatments such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy.

Surgery may also affect your appetite, especially one that removes any part of your gastrointestinal organs. Fortunately, the spread of lung cancer to stomach, intestines, or other gastrointestinal organs are quite rare

Your appetite problem may also a result from other side effects of your cancer treatments such as pain, lethargy (fatigue), changes in smell & taste, difficulty chewing /swallowing, mouth soreness /infections, and digestive discomforts (constipation, nausea, and vomiting), and so on.

Weight gain diet tips

  1. Eat more foods rich in protein and calories such as peanut butter, lean meat, low-fat milk, fruits, vegetables, peas, corn, sweet potatoes, and so on. Increase the amount of food you eat if necessary – ask your dietitian for more advice!
  2. Your environment when eating can help, too. For example, it’s better to eat together with your families to boost your appetite.
  3. Instead of eating large meals 3 times a day, split them into some small meals (about 5-6 small meals) and eat throughout the day whenever you are hungry.
  4. Drink after meal to help maintain your appetite! If you drink before your meal or during eating, you are likely to get full more easily!
  5. Do a light exercise (like 15-20 minute walk) before your meal! You can do it about an hour before you take your meal, this may help improve your appetite.

If you have cancer, try to eat even though you don’t have any appetite! Remember that your body requires plenty of calories and nutrients to help fight against the cancer.

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