Weight loss is often associated with peritoneal mesothelioma, but it can occur with all types of cancers. The most common cause of it is cancer cells that eat your body’s healthy cells and treatment methods. Chemotherapy can reduce appetite – resulting in weight loss.
It is important that mesothelioma patients manage this issue in a way that doesn’t interfere with their treatment and recovery. Despite the dangers of weight loss and the complications it can cause, it can be taken care of through dietary modifications.
What Are the Main Reasons for Weight Loss in Mesothelioma Patients?
Symptoms and side effects of mesothelioma can cause weight loss. For example, pleural mesothelioma causes difficulty swallowing and breathing and affects the throat, which makes eating and enjoying food more difficult. Similarly, abdominal or peritoneal mesothelioma can cause nausea, inflammation, and pain in the abdomen, making it harder to eat.
Besides, the cancer cells themselves contribute to weight loss. Often the treatment is a big factor as it leads to nausea and loss of appetite. Those undergoing chemotherapy often feel sick or weak, making it difficult for them to eat.
What Are The Dangers of Losing Weight for Someone With Mesothelioma?
Weight loss is, unfortunately, a very common issue in the late stages of this disease. People typically lose weight without trying or dieting, which is a concern that should not be taken lightly.
During cancer treatment, patients who lose weight have a tendency to burn lean tissue instead of fat to sustain their bodies. As lean tissue contains important muscle tissue, immune cells, red blood cells, and platelets, this can be problematic. As a result, patients may feel fatigued and depleted after mesothelioma treatment. In addition, it increases the possibility of side effects from chemotherapy and requires longer treatment breaks, which can delay recovery.
What Causes Weight Loss in Mesothelioma Patients?
There may be multiple reasons why someone loses weight, ranging from tumors to treatment side effects. It is important to identify the underlying causes to prevent and manage weight gain.
Here’s what you need to know.
- Cancer in the abdomen is a major factor in reduced appetite.
Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma may experience appetite loss due to tumors in the abdomen. Tumors build pressure and fluid in the abdomen, making the condition worse.
In addition to making the person feel full, it can cause digestive problems, such as constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, or pain. In the case of larger tumors, eating may even be impossible due to bowel obstruction.
- Cancer cells cause weight loss.
Additionally, the cancer cells contribute to weight loss in patients with mesothelioma. During the process of growing, dividing, and spreading throughout the body, cells use a lot of energy. In the long run, this can lead to a significant and dangerous weight loss as it drains the body of energy from healthy cells.
- Appetite is reduced by treatment side effects.
In addition to a reduced appetite and weight loss, mesothelioma treatments can also cause unpleasant side effects, such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Changing tastes and smells
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Mouth ulcers
- Throat ache
- Weight Loss Caused by Mental Illness
Mesothelioma has an impact on mental health, causing stress, anxiety, and other psychological problems. These symptoms can also affect appetite and weight. A low appetite and apathy towards preparing and eating nutritious foods are two contributing factors to weight loss caused by depression.
Many cancer patients experience weight loss even after stopping difficult treatments and using nutritional supplements. These factors are often to blame for anorexia among cancer patients.
Some evidence suggests these issues are a result of disrupted regulating systems in the body. A cancer cell releases chemicals called cytokines and neuropeptides, which are responsible for the development of anorexia.
- Muscle Wasting – Cachexia
Many mesothelioma patients experience rapid and significant weight loss as a result of their disease. Cachexia, a condition characterized by reduced skeletal muscle tissue, can make the situation worse.
In addition to weakness and fatigue, cachexia also causes mobility and activity problems, ultimately reducing your quality of life. Any type of cancer, including mesothelioma, can cause this type of issue in the late stages.
Cachexia and cancer levels can go hand in hand. It is important to start intervention as soon as possible.
- Chemotherapy-induced nausea can contribute to cachexia.
- Supplement your diet with nutritional items and extra calories
- Taking stimulants to increase appetite
- In case of need, you can take intravenous fluids as nutrition
As a mesothelioma patient, how should I handle weight loss?
Eating well can offer many benefits to mesothelioma patients. Simply by bringing healthy changes in their diet, a person can cope with a cancer diagnosis, endure cancer treatments, handle their side effects, and enjoy everyday activities.
- You can also take medications.
Patients who don’t feel like eating may benefit from drugs that stimulate appetite. Chemotherapy patients often suffer from nausea, which contributes to appetite loss. Therefore, medications that reduce nausea can help.
- Consider Palliative treatments.
If there is a clear reason for appetite loss, such as fluid accumulation in the abdomen, palliative procedures may be helpful. Taking the fluid out can improve appetite because it reduces fullness and discomfort.
- Consume what you crave.
It is important to eat what seems appealing if appetite loss is caused by discomfort or changes in taste or smell. Simply eating food that tastes good is adequate instead of focusing on healthy foods.
- Choosing foods that are easy to eat.
It is also beneficial to eat easier-to-swallow foods if pain or trouble swallowing interferes with weight loss.
- Consult a nutritionist.
Cancer patients should have access to all types of experts, including dietitians. They help patients plan meals and provide them with nutritious, tasty, and easy-to-eat foods.
In addition, discuss your struggles to maintain a healthy weight with your physician. They can refer you to a registered dietitian who can help you identify the foods you need and work around your food aversions. Managing your weight throughout your mesothelioma journey is critical for your future health, prognosis, and quality of life.
Treating cancer as the underlying condition is the first step in managing weight loss. You must also contact a nutritionist so they can develop a customized food plan for you. Additionally, there are home remedies and palliative care for weight loss. Do what you can to keep a balanced weight; as with mesothelioma, losing weight is not an advantage. Instead, it can pose multiple health risks during the treatment. If you’re experiencing weight loss or a lack of appetite, speak with your doctor right away.