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Author Topic: Why does cancer make you lose weight?  (Read 15242 times)

DoctorBeaver

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« on: 29/01/2009 22:51:06 »
 ???

Chemistry4me

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #1 on: 29/01/2009 22:52:46 »
Any kind of cancer?

DoctorBeaver

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #2 on: 29/01/2009 22:56:03 »
Most kinds do, as far as I am aware. But mesothelioma in particular.

Chemistry4me

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #3 on: 29/01/2009 23:09:54 »
I am purely speculating here, but your body isn't absorbing as much carbs, proteins as you normally would. And maybe you're burning things off a bit faster too!

DoctorBeaver

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #4 on: 29/01/2009 23:17:57 »
Not sure about burning off faster. And why would something like mesothelioma stop your body absorbing cargs & proteins? A cancer in part of the digestive system I could understand.

Chemistry4me

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #5 on: 29/01/2009 23:20:18 »
It (cancers) releases substances into the body which breaks down fats and muscles faster?

DoctorBeaver

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #6 on: 29/01/2009 23:22:18 »
Ah, now that's a possibility.

Chemistry4me

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #7 on: 29/01/2009 23:26:23 »
These substances may make your metabolism speed up so that you burn calories faster?

DoctorBeaver

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #8 on: 29/01/2009 23:28:13 »
I really don't know. But if your metabolism speeds up, wouldn't you feel warmer?

Chemistry4me

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #9 on: 29/01/2009 23:32:57 »
Yeah, I suppose. Why?

But if your metabolism speeds up, wouldn't you feel warmer?

DoctorBeaver

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #10 on: 30/01/2009 00:00:04 »
Coz I don't feel warmer

Chemistry4me

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #11 on: 30/01/2009 00:08:44 »
And you've been losing weight recently?

RD

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #12 on: 30/01/2009 03:43:15 »
Maybe some confusion here between cancer and the side-effects of chemotherapy to treat cancer,
 which can include weight loss from nausea and vomiting.

Tumors can cause weight gain ...

Quote
Largest Tumor Removed Intact
The largest tumor ever removed intact was a multicystic mass of the right ovary weighing 137.6 kg (303 lb). The operation, which took over six hours, was performed by Professor Katherine O�Hanlan of Stanford University Medical Center, California, USA. The growth had a diameter of 1 m (3 ft) and was removed in its entirety in October 1991 from the abdomen of an unnamed 34-year-old woman. The patient who weighed 95 kg (210 lb) after the operation and has made a full recovery left the operating theater on one stretcher and the cyst left on another.
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=05a_1191521268
« Last Edit: 30/01/2009 03:50:22 by RD »

chris

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #13 on: 30/01/2009 21:08:55 »
I answered this question a little while ago. Here's the link:

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=1732.0;prev_next=prev

OldDragon

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #14 on: 31/01/2009 01:02:19 »
Slightly off topic, I expected to lose weight when on chemotherapy. In reality I gained about 2 stones. Although I wasn't sick, I found that it, or the anti-sickness drugs, played havoc with my IBS and GI tract considerably. It seems that is still the case a few weeks after completing the chemo.

DoctorBeaver

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #15 on: 31/01/2009 14:13:28 »
I haven't started chemo yet as the condition has only just been confirmed and my appetite is fine. I can't say for certain when my weight loss started but when I was weighed in hospital in September I'd lost over 2 stone from when I'd last been weighed a year or so previously.

RD

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #16 on: 31/01/2009 16:31:40 »
From Cancer Research UK ...

Quote
Cachexia seems to be more common in people with lung cancer or with cancers anywhere in the digestive system.
The main symptoms are:-

Severe loss of weight, including loss of fat and muscle mass 
Loss of appetite 
Feeling sick (nausea) 
Feeling full after eating small amounts 
Anaemia (low red blood cells) 
Weakness and fatigue

We don't know exactly what happens in cachexia, but scientists now think that the cancer releases chemicals into the blood that contribute to the loss of fat and muscle.  These chemicals may make your metabolism speed up so that you use up calories faster.  Because your body is using up energy faster than it is getting it, you can have severe weight loss even if you are eating normally.  Losing muscle and fat can make it look as though you are ‘wasting away’.  This can all be made worse because of the side effects of cancer treatment you are having.
http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/help/default.asp?page=10428

DoctorBeaver

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #17 on: 31/01/2009 16:37:04 »
The only symptoms I've had from that list are weight loss, weakness & fatigue; but the weakness & fatigue have been around for quite a while due to my other health problems and haven't got noticably worse.

RD

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #18 on: 31/01/2009 17:37:56 »
Wasting is not exclusive to cancer: it also occurs in tuberculosis. 
A common denominator between cancer and TB would be immune response.

DoctorBeaver

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #19 on: 31/01/2009 18:03:57 »
I know it's not exclusive to cancer. Thinking asbout it, some of my weight loss may be due to muscle atrophy as I'm not doing as much physical stuff as I used to because of my increased breathlessness.

chris

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #20 on: 31/01/2009 21:12:25 »
Hi Eth

I'm traumatised to hear that you might be unwell - what's wrong?

Chris

DoctorBeaver

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #21 on: 31/01/2009 21:40:30 »
Chris - I've sent you a message about it.

iko

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #22 on: 31/01/2009 22:30:13 »
Quote
Use of n-3 fatty acids (FA) has been reported to be beneficial for cancer patients.

...I know, it sounds like an obsession  ;)
In what's left of my brains, fish liver oil and Vitamin D rule, as Neilep told me a while ago.
That's my poor contribution to this topic.

only 15 citations about spontaneous remissions in PubMed.
Not much for a good breath of hope...better than nothing.
This is the most recent: from Australia, where fresh Nobel-Prize worth new ideas come from...

 
Apparent spontaneous complete regression of a multifocal malignant mesothelioma of the pleura.

Allen RK.
Wesley Medical Centre, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. rogerallen@internode.on.net

A 61-year-old woman diagnosed with multifocal, poorly differentiated epithelial mesothelioma in September 2002 went into sustained spontaneous remission within months. She was completely disease-free within 6 months, and remained so 5 years later. This case demonstrates that this tumour may, very rarely, regress spontaneously, with no recurrence for many years. A greater knowledge of the underlying immune mechanisms would aid future management of this and other tumours.

Med J Aust. 2007 Oct 1;187(7):413-5.


Pdf free full-text:  http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/187_07_011007/all10028_fm.pdf
« Last Edit: 31/01/2009 23:15:41 by iko »

DoctorBeaver

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #23 on: 01/02/2009 12:39:14 »
iko - thank you for that link. So there's hope for me yet!  ;D

iko

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Why does cancer make you lose weight?
« Reply #24 on: 01/02/2009 14:47:15 »
iko - thank you for that link. So there's hope for me yet!  ;D

Beavers are tough and fierce.
If you read the full-text, you'll find that the patient, a stoic lady who had stopped smoking 5 months before (after 40yrs), managed to 'mount' a strong inflammatory-immune response, all by herself, leaving doctors astonished and keeping chemo at bay.
Just like beavers do.

 

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