When you think of a cancer patient, you might envision someone frail and thin. But while weight loss can be a side effect, gaining weight during cancer treatment is also quite common. That’s why it’s important to find a healthy balance during treatment. Here are some tips.
- Don’t lose too much weight. If you’re shedding pounds as a result of nausea or changes in appetite, find ways to increase your nutrient intake during treatment with healthy, high calorie foods. Make sure you’re familiar with strategies for gaining and maintaining weight.
- Keep a healthy balance. Putting on extra pounds during cancer treatment is particularly typical in breast cancer patients and those who are on steroid treatments. While eating well and getting exercise can help control unwanted weight gain, you may also benefit from meeting with a Registered Dietitian who can review your goals and assist you in designing a healthful eating plan.
- Consider starting an exercise routine. Exercise offers key benefits for cancer patients. In addition to helping you maintain a healthy weight, physical activity helps lower stress, improve sleep patterns, and elevate mood.
- Be wary of using cancer treatment as a diet plan. If you’re already overweight when you start treatment, you may be tempted to intentionally lose weight rapidly during treatment. Rather than focusing on weight loss, try instead to make sure you’re getting regular exercise and eating healthful foods that will give you the energy your body needs during treatment and allow you to lose weight at a safe and healthy rate during treatment.
- Find recipes that can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce other side effects. Dana-Farber offers a free smartphone app that offers recipes designed to help users eat wisely, manage the side effects of treatment, and promote a reduced risk for cancer recurrence. Dana-Farber’s website also offers recipes and tips for healthy meal planning.