Do you Lose your Appetite with Cancer?
Cancer patients may find they struggle with a change in eating habits and the desire to eat. A very low appetite over a long duration of time can result in weight loss. It may also be associated with feelings of fatigue and weakness.
What Causes Loss of Appetite?
There can be different reasons why cancer may affect a person’s appetite, some of the most common are:
- Some tumors release hormones that affect how hungry you feel.
- Inflammation due to cancer can affect metabolism and appetite.
- Tumours in the gastrointestinal tract can narrow the space food has to pass through, leading to a reduction in appetite. Tumours elsewhere in the abdomen can compress the gastrointestinal tract leading to similar effects.
- Pain or stress due to cancer can cause a reduction in appetite.
- A change in taste or smell, and vomiting due to cancer treatment can impact appetite.
- Appetite may also be reduced as a result of medication.
The Signs of Cancer-Related Appetite Loss
The key sign of cancer-related loss of appetite is eating considerably less than normal and feelings of nausea and sicknesses related to food. Showing a clear lack of interest in food a drop in weight, marked loss of muscle mass and strength, are indicators that someone with cancer may be struggling with a lack of hunger.
What Helps Cancer Patients with No Appetite?
It’s important to report any appetite changes to the cancer care team, as they can provide extra support and advice. Things that can be done to help cancer patients struggling with no appetite include:
- Medications may be appropriate depending on the situation.
- Eating several small snacks throughout the day rather than full meals.
- Try to eat calorie-dense and high-protein snacks.
- Consider taking nutritional supplements.
- Eat with someone in a comfortable and pleasant setting.
Cancer-Related Appetite Loss and Medicinal Cannabis
Research into the effect of medicinal cannabis on cancer-related appetite loss is limited. However, following the legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes in 2018, there has been a rise in people looking towards medical cannabis. When first-line therapies have not proved effective at reducing symptoms, medical cannabis may be considered an option for cancer-related appetite loss.
For further information and to find out more about medical cannabis, click here to discover more about our award-winning Curaleaf Access Scheme. Alternatively, complete an eligibility assessment now. Once complete, one of our clinicians will review your application and advise whether you are eligible for progression to an appointment.