How Treatments Affect Metabolism and Weight Gain

Many patients experience weight gain and other metabolic changes following chemotherapy and cancer-related treatments.
  • Breast cancer and prostate cancer therapies, in particular, can slow metabolism and contribute to weight gain. Steroids, which many patients receive, can lead to inflammation and weight gain.
  • Other factors, such as immobility following surgery, fatigue and even depression can contribute to weight gain.
  • Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.8 is essential to reducing your risk of cancer.
You can achieve a healthy BMI by balancing the energy you consume with the energy you expend. For most people, weight loss occurs by decreasing calorie intake and increasing physical activity.
To combat the long-term affects of cancer, survivors should eat a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, protein and whole grains, and strive for 75 minutes of rigorous or 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. Try finding an activity you love, like walking, hiking, cycling or playing a sport.
If losing weight is overwhelming or too difficult to tackle independently, ask your doctor about City of Hope’s weight-reduction clinic and certified nutritionists.