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42
SIDE EFFECTS AND SYMPTOM MANAGEMENT /// CHAPTER 27
Weight
Gain
Although most people associate cancer
treatment with weight LOSS, some
treatments may cause constant hunger
and weight gain. These symptoms should
go away when treatment stops, but
unfortunately the side effects may remain.
One type of drug that affects weight is steroids. Steroids
are natural substances produced by the body to regulate
metabolism. But, when you have cancer, you may need larger
amounts than your body can produce to kill some cancer
cells, reduce nausea, help with headaches, and reduce
swelling around some tumors. The bad news is steroids can
cause increased hunger and fluid retention which can lead to
weight gain.
Many people gain a lot of weight on steroids. Your body
fat might get redistributed in a different way too, which
can be really distressing. One effect might be fullness in
your cheeks, sometimes called " moon face. " Unfortunately,
though, until you are off steroids, dieting will not help to
change this.
It's normal to feel self-conscious about gaining weight.
You may find changes to your body weight during cancer
treatment particularly upsetting, especially on top of all the
other stresses you are facing. Try to get through treatment
and worry about the weight afterwards.
Tips for dealing with weight gain:
» It might help to remember that steroids are an essential
part of many treatment plans and that weight gain from
treatment is usually temporary. Weight loss will usually
start when treatment stops and you can start healthy
eating and exercise programs.
» Don't avoid eating because you are afraid of putting on
weight - it's getting better that is the most important
thing. Your body still needs important nutrients.
» Focus on healthy eating to avoid real long-term weight
gain. Drink plenty of water and eat fresh fruit and
vegetables to " fill up. " Avoid sugary drinks like Gatorade,
juice, sweet tea, soda and lemonade.
» Limit fried foods, junk foods and frequent desserts.
» Exercise regularly if you can. Start small and work up to
a goal of 30 minutes per day.
» Wear clothes that fit your size and that you feel
comfortable in. Good excuse for a shopping spree!
» Make sure your mind is healthy. Food is often used to
cope with stress but try mindfulness, yoga, counseling
and exercise.
» Talk about it! Let your family, friends or health care team
know if you are feeling upset. Stress and depression can
really make your healing processes worse.
https://fwaya.org/

What Do I Do Now?

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