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Relationship between Cancer and Weight Loss

Cancer is a condition in which abnormal cell growth take place in a certain area of the body. According to the nature of its growth, it can be considered a malignant cancer or else a benign cancer. A malignant cancer would be invasive and can lead to fatal outcomes but, a benign cancer most often would not be fatal and would not invade the surrounding tissue structures or organs. Due to several elements of a growing cancer, a person may suffer from various symptoms and out of which, undue weight loss would be one important aspect in the initial evaluation process.

The health experts believe that a person needs to evaluate a weight loss of more than 5% of the body weight without trying as it can be a sign of a developing cancer. But, such weight loss needs to occur over a period of time, such as 6 – 12 months, for it to be associated with a potential cancer. A person would describe such weight loss in terms of ability to wear cloths that were worn many years back, requirement to buy new cloths as the existing ones become loose and the need to increase one buckle hole more in the belt that he use.

The reason for such weight loss among cancer patients can be many folds. Anorexia or loss of appetite would be the commonest cause as many of the cancer patients would experience such appetite loss at the time of diagnosis and in most instances would develop these symptoms in its late stages. Anorexia would make the person unaware about the amount of food that they require to eat and this would lead to inevitable weight loss.

Cachexia is the wasting that takes place in a cancer patient and it would be evident in many patients during the late stages of the illness. As anorexia and cachexia develops hand in hand, one should not misinterpret that they are always associated as in certain instances; a person with colonic cancers would have a good appetite but, will develop cachexia due to poor nutrient absorption from the intestine.

Apart from these elements, a person suffering from a cancer would not be aware of the increased energy demand from the body as the tumors will use up more energy along with inefficient expense of stored energy. Thus, unaware about this fact, a person continuing to take the same portion of foods and drinks would suffer from a weight loss as the requirements are not met according to the energy demand.

Therefore, unintentional loss of weight needs to be investigated and appropriate action needs to be taken in order to rectify the situation before it leads to a vicious cycle.