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What causes weight loss?


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True cancer weight loss is due to chemicals released by cancer cells. A chemical called cachexin (most likely tumor necrosis factor) causes the body to start breaking down its tissues, go into negative protein balance and results in weight loss. Of course nausea can certainly lead to weight loss for people on chemotherapy but that is a seperate issue.

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Just to expand upon that a little, cachexin causes catabolism, or loss of lean body mass, despite nutritional intake. With the new anti-nausea drugs, nausea is less of a cause of weight loss now than it was in the past. While it is of course important to get good nutrition, cancer patients often lose weight in spite of it. Appetite stimulants help. Dr. Joe listed the common ones in another thread. Moderate exercise is also a good idea (for everyone, really) because it sustains lean body mass.

You must be doing something right, Cathy. May ED stay ten feet behind you, where he belongs. - Teresa

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