How Cancer 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.

Combating long-term Effects

To combat the long-term effects of cancer, survivors should:
 
  • Eat a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, protein and whole grains
  • 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.
 

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