Apr 12, 2023
Cancer patients often have a lack of appetite or no desire to eat. This can be caused by a number of factors including fatigue, depression, worries about treatment, or gastrointestinal side effects like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Additionally, some cancers can produce hormones that impact how the body experiences hunger and fullness.
Switch Out Large Meals for Smaller Meals
When you have no appetite, it can be quite difficult to sit down to a large plate of food. Because a large meal can be intimidating, smaller meals or snacks can be a much more manageable option. This can help you ensure you are reaching your nutrition goals but are not feeling discouraged by large plates of food that you leave mostly untouched. Having 6-8 snacks per day can be a much better option than 3 large meals every day. When dealing with a lack of appetite, be sure to take full advantage of moments when you are feeling hungry to maximize eating and nutrition during that time.
Make Your Small Meals and Snacks Well Balanced
Making nutritionally balanced meals and snacks is key to meeting your nutritional needs while keeping food volume at a manageable level. Make sure to include a carbohydrate, protein, fat, fruit, and vegetable at every meal or snack to keep your energy levels stable throughout the day. This could be crackers, cheese, and vegetables; a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and banana slices; or cottage cheese with fruit and a side of carrots.
Add in Extra Fat For Energy
Adding extra fat to your snacks and meals can help you meet your energy goals since fat is the most calorically dense macronutrient. This can be in the form of added butter, cheese, gravy, or sauces. Only a small amount of fat packs a big energy punch!
Make Sure You are Weighing Yourself Weekly
Weigh yourself once a week in the morning after using the bathroom and record the number. If you notice the number is going down for more than 2-3 weeks, make sure to contact your care team.
Appetite issues can be frustrating for cancer patients and concerning for caregivers, but ensuring you are getting enough energy to support your body is crucial during treatment. If you have any questions about helping with appetite, reach out to the registered dietitians at OncoPower for more personalized recommendations and support.
Loss of appetite. Managing Cancer-related Side Effects. https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/eating-problems/poor-appetite.html. Published September 14, 2022. Accessed February 17, 2023.
Virginia, United States
I am a HER2 negative ER positive stage IV breast cancer patient. Last year, wonderful doctors here suggested me to test for PIK3CA mutation (cobas® PIK3CA Mutation Test). It was found positive.
My Newport Beach oncologist put me Piqray + Faslodex combo since nine months. I got test reports two months in a row. THANK GOD, my tumor is stable! Thank you Doctors! I urge members with stage 4 cancer here not to lose hope or give up.
Florida, United States
I had posted last year about my husband who has been diagnosed with stage 3 esophageal cancer. His is an esophageal squamous cell carcinoma type, so there was a consensus among his oncologist at FCS and Oncopower doctors here that Opdivo + Yervoy is the best option I am happy to share an update that he is doing well. His appetite has increased, follows recommended diet and regained some of the weight. We will keep our fingers crossed though!
Pennsylvania, United States
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Iowa , United States
Dr. Josh McFarlane, Thank you. I am planning to subscribe for premium service, and work with Dt. Tlemcani, the breast oncologist recommended by many patients here.
Western Cape, South Africa
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Floroda United States
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Florida, United States
Yes, by the Grace of God, there we go 🫂 † What helps me is music, has always relaxed me. I too had chemo and almost done with radiation treatments to treat breast cancer, along with surgery. I empathize with you and so blessed to have found this awesome app as well. Made me so happy to know there are doctors here to advise me along with other feedbacks from many others going thru the same or similar as me. When two or more gather 🤗 stay strong 💪
New York, United States
My husband is a Stage IIIB non small cell lung cancer, unresectable. Underwent concurrent chemotherapy with radiation therapy and now on Imfinzi maintenance since November 2020. So far okay.
Docs, Thank you all here for suggestions. Warriors for your support.
California, United States
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