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cancer treatment and weight loss

Posts: 4
Joined: May 2007

My sisters husband is currently undergoing chemo for colon cancer. He has lost over 90 lbs and can not put any weight on. He has diarrhea that is only barely manageable by taking tincture of opium. The doctors can not find any reason for his uncontrollable diarrhea. Can anyone suggest any reason for this condition or anything else that can be done for him?

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Diarrhea and colon cancer treatment go together. I think it's from trying to USE an area while it's being treated...lol...

My trick was to eat frequent, SMALL meals...so that it wouldn't trigger a trip to the bathroom. I also cut out all dairy products...turns out I became lactose intolerant during this....

I have a patient partner now who ask her onc if pro-biotics (like in Activia Yogurt) would be ok. Actually, she asked "I would like to take probiotics to try to control my diarrhea, can you see how this would HURT anything?"....her diarrhea cleared right up...we think it has something to do with the lack of natural flora and fauna in the colon from the treatment...probiotics put it back....BUT MAKE SURE to ask his onc BEFORE starting ANYTHING, even this...

Hugs, Kathi

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

My "pp" just shared a bit more as to her success:

Here is what worked for me. It is drastic but it works. After the runs stop you can add other things SLOWLY
1)2/3 of daily food is BROWN RICE in all forms, cereal, hot, crackers, pasta, etc
2)two apple pectin capsules at the BEGINNING OF EVERY SMALL MEAL
3) Probiotics: digestive bacteria/enzymes brand name JARRO Dopolis in the morning
4) NO vegetables other than cooked carrots
5) Banannas often
5) NO SUGAR 6) NO MEAT, just limited chicken and white fish
The poor guy probably has no intestinal flora at all so nees to go to the mat on this program. The first week he should eat ONLY brown rice( in all forms) banannas, and some chicken broth.
Cheers. It is worth it believe me.
Regular Rosie

It's so nice to have so many experts...we real life in-the-trenches sort of advice givers!!!

Hugs, Kathi

goldfinch's picture
Posts: 737
Joined: Oct 2003

These 2 solutions may sound weird, but they've worked for me during my last 2 treatments. I should say that I've been plaqued with severe diarrhea with any treatment I've gotten. I haven't lost 90 pounds, but I've lost a good 40 pounds since this trip began in 2003. Imodium like candy, lomotil, injectable sandostatin into my belly, BRAT diet. Nothing worked.
In addition to the yogurt 2 times a day (activia is a good choice, i use Liberte-make sure it has cultures like active acidofilus, bifudis (sp?), I have a metamucil afer in the AM and PM. I have it with less water than they recommend. My onc suggested the metamucil, but I remember when I had my ileostomy (it's been reversed) that someone on an ileostomy board recommended taking it with less liquid, so that's how I've been doing it. Check with your onc.
I also have an Archway macadamia cookie in the morning and evening. Again something I read a long time ago on an ileostomy board, but I was reminded of it when I was looking at a book at the onc while I was getting chemo. That book also suggested this. I don't remember who the author was.
I had had a month off of chemo (went on a great vacation to ST JOhn's for 2 weeks:-) and so I've just resumed chemo. For me it's a cumulative thing and perhaps this won't work after a few more treatments, but I typically get the diarrhea no matter what and this has been heaven. THings aren't exactly normal, but no diarrhea and much of the cramping is gone. It's been wonderful.

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

I am sure you have tried many, many things. What chemo is he on? Has the oncologist suggested switching him to something else (if possible)? I believe some people have terrible diarrhea with one kind of chemo but not so bad with another. Thinking of you.

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