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Posts: 14
Joined: Jul 2009

When i began my treatment in 2000 I weighted 265 lbs. at 5' 8". When I completed my treatment and rehab i was down to 131 lbs.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sep 2006

I am not one of them, but I have 'talked to' or read of any number of survivors who gained weight rather than losing it, often much to their chagrin. It seems in some cases that steroids included in chemotherapy mixtures increased appetities, or so it is surmised.

In your case, I would advise that you seek the advice of a certified nutritionist, who may be able to provide a diet (and exercise) that will help you gain back part of what you lost during the process.

Best wishes and, by the way, congratulations on your survivorship!

Take care,


missyanne's picture
Posts: 8
Joined: Jan 2011

I worked very specifically and deliberately to be a "compliant patient". The only 2 times I argued with them (anyone of the healthcare providers) was 1) when I was told to gain weight and 2) when I was told to not exercise.

Eventually, I told the doc's office if they didn't "approve" me to exercise, then I was going to just start doing it and I would lie to them about it. LOL. All I wanted to do (or even felt like doing) was short walks at the local park. LOL. So I got their approval.

The weight gain ... that was an argument from the beginning!! Well, close to the beginning anyway. Post-hyst, ooph, staging, etc., I went for my pathology report and surgical follow-up. I was told that they wanted me to gain a total of 50 pounds. 50 POUNDS???!!!?!?!! Dadgum!!! I immediately spewed forth the arguing. ROFL!!! You see, I have weighed 195 pounds since junior high (I was 39 when diagnosed). I was always on sports teams as I enjoyed the team activities (well, social teams too, but this conversation is about weight lol). So I informed the doc immediately and adamantly, that I absolutely refuse to gain that much weight. We reached a compromise of 25 pounds. And ... as you mentioned, much to my chagrin ... the steroids and medical comas made quick work of that 25 pounds AND an extra 5 also. lol. I am now fighting crazy and it is barely and EXTREMELY slowly starting to come off.

inaki's picture
Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2011

Hi, you have aroused my curiosity. What was the motivation/logic for recommending you gain weight? I ask this, because although I am an (ex)cancer patient, I have no personal experience with chemo, radiation, medications or any other treatment protocols.

bluerose's picture
Posts: 1112
Joined: Jul 2009

I went through treatment twice for non hodgkins lymphoma, once with a bone marrow transplant and the other with regular treatment, twice due to reoccurance. The first time around I went through regular chemo and localized radiation and gained - probably from some of the meds they put me on from various things. I did lose for a little bit while in transplant when I got very sick and had to be fed intravenously but that soon resolved itself and I put on weight right after - again due to the meds that I am still on. So many meds cause weight gain. All the best and stay strong. Blessings, Bluerose

Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2009

The first time my mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer (2003) she never lost a pound even after undergoing a bilateral mastectomy, chemo, and radiation. She did gain significantly though.

She was diagnosed in June 2009 with recurrent breast cancer (Stage IV) and her weight has fluctuated between 156 and 159 but no major weight changes so far.

RE's picture
Posts: 4638
Joined: Feb 2004

Well due to the medications that I received over the 18 months of treatment I am afraid that I gained over 70 pounds. Once it's on it is hard to get off, I have managed to keep some of it off but have never gotten near where I was at. Oh well, I am still here breathing and enjoying life so I guess I shall just continue to do my best to lose what I can and certainly not to gain anymore. I guess it all depends on the cancer, the treatment and perhaps your chemical make up how ones body will react. Glad you are still here to psoe t his question!



Posts: 83
Joined: Nov 2008

Can antidepressents cause weight gain? Is that a common side effect and do you have to stop the antidepressent if you want to lose weight?

I gained weight while going thru chemo. and Ive been on antipressent also. I was very thin before and my weight now is average. I want to loss the weight but havent had luck.
I watch what i eat and exercise. I want to get back to my previous weight.

Just complaining-this isnt a serious problem as what most people have.

Thank you


SonSon's picture
Posts: 186
Joined: Jul 2009

My mother in law has lost about 6 sizes (at least). Last time I weighed her she was 104lbs. She is 5' tall and used to weigh at least 160 lbs. Her arms are matchsticks and her legs are not far behind.
Very frustrating to try and keep weight on her.

Posts: 5
Joined: Sep 2009

I did not loss weight during my 5 week chemo/rad treatments. I know my diet changed and my appetite was decreased. I chaulked it up to the steroids during chemo. Now I'm afraid to weigh because I've been off work for almost 6 mths and suffering from depression. I have been on Prozac for years. My psy has increased my dosage, I hope that helps.

grammadebbie's picture
Posts: 464
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi All,

I actually gained about 30 to 40 pounds. Some of it I attribute to being inactive due to surgeries and treatment over 3 years. I did take steroids during my treatment. My doctors were happy I had the extra weight on. It's not easy to get rid of though. Still , I'm just happy to be here.

Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2010

Steroids have a strong anabolic effect and after a long period of treatment such as 6 months people gain weight.Also after interrupting treatment their effect starts to diminish.Some exercise and a good diet would be the best choice in order to loose weight.Diana James Phentermine

Posts: 8
Joined: Sep 2009

I gained weight, 25lbs during 18 wks of radiation. Then the thyroid stopped working and thats another story.

Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2009

I didn't loss weight. I gained 60 lbs. I went from a size 1 to a size 16. My father-in-law, during Christmas, that year said all he needed to do was tie a string on me and he could float me in the Macy's day parade, because I had gained so much weight and was bald.

daisy366's picture
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

You have a great sense of humor.

I too gained weight and am working to lose it and strengthen my body. I imagine it depends on the regime you are on - I know steroids were part of my chemo "cocktail"!!

Mary Ann

Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2006

I had to take steroids while taking chemo and I gained a TON of weight. No pun intended! I started out weighing around 98 lbs and now weigh around 165- 170. It has caused quite the depression. It's bad enough to go through cancer but to have to get fat doing it!! Well that's just not fair! Good luck to everyone out there still going through treatment. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, just don't get too fat like me that you can't fit through the tunnel!!

Posts: 403
Joined: Nov 2010

I've had 4 of 6 chemo treatments and I've gained about 40 pounds. I'm not sure if it was the meds or my totally indulging myself after my dx (probably more the latter). I just got married for the first time on 2/14/10 (I'm 58 and probably put on about 20 pounds celebrating) and feel bad that my poor husband didn't even get a 6 month warrentee before his "beautiful" wife became fat & bald, and while he doesn't mind (or complain) it bothers me more that some of the treatment that I'm undergoing for breast cancer. It does amaze me at home many people tell me how good I look--can't they see the 40+ pounds???
In theory, I'll be done with rads & everything by midMarch and I'm hoping to start to lose and get back into shape--which may only be a dream on my part.
Sigh...it seems that those of us that have extra weight should be able to "donate" it to those who need it, no?

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Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2010

I lost from diagnosis all the way to the end of chemo. Then I regained a few pounds and rested, I guess, at a certain point. Then the Tamoxifen made me start to gain again. I had to quit it for other reasons, and have been struggling ever since to get the weight back off. Was also slammed into menopause from the chemo, which deesn't help. Fatigue, too.

filimu's picture
Posts: 74
Joined: Aug 2010

Since I didn't have to have radiation or chemo, I didn't have to deal with steroids, nor with radiation illness, but when they did the 120 mph crash from full blast estrogen to femara, I had days I could barely get off the floor, let alone the couch...just felt like somebody pulled the plug and drained everything out of my skin, including my skeleton. Thankfully, after about a year, the worst of those episodes have passed but it has made me gain about 10 pounds that I'm having trouble trying to shake.

farahi's picture
Posts: 23
Joined: Oct 2009

I start treatment for AML on july 2009 at the bigining i lost some weight but with the treatment i gained about 50 lb. what make this harder is people look at you and cant see that you are really sick because they expect to see a really skinny new you and here you r looking like a cow! i feel like crap from my last treatment and i still need another round of consolidation chemo wich i do as an in pt (and yes i gain weight eating hospital food...lol)and the only thing on my mind is am i going to gain more weight!

nicolegarza's picture
Posts: 27
Joined: Mar 2011

I only lost weight during my hospital stay... cause I was on a liquid diet for a while and then I had wound complications and all the pain meds made it impossible to even clean out my system so I was refusing to eat anything I was so uncomfortable... My two week stay was bad and I never wanna do that again... I lost 50 pounds in 2 weeks... but I think it was mostly muscle. I never felt so weak! But as soon as I was home and my digestive system was ok I ate normally and even during chemo I ate so I quickly gained it back, but I also had people "well you look great!" Even though I felt like crap! Theres this video on youtube thats called something like "things you should never say to someone with cancer" or something similar... the lady sums a lot of our thoughts in that video... Its almost been 6 months since my last treatment of carbo/taxol and I am trying to lose weight but I guess my main concern is getting my strength back, which most of my muscle has returned but the weight isn't going anywhere...anyways I know what your saying when you people say that to you... Hang in there and your main concern should be killing those cancer cells!!! Good luck!

farahi's picture
Posts: 23
Joined: Oct 2009

When i first got sick i lost a lot of weight and like i said i gain 50lb i hate to say that i did gain more since my last comment, so i guess that all the people that know me most be thinking that "i look sooooo good" wich my chemo brain translate to "hell how she got so fat" LOL. My Dr and reaserch nurse told me it is a side effect of the steroids i recived with chemo.

I hope that you are doing good!
Good Luck

LYaklin's picture
Posts: 16
Joined: Apr 2011

For years I had stayed at a comfortable 134#. I am 5'9" and was content there but wouldn't have minded losing 4 pounds. A couple months prior to my diagnosis in July 2008 my weight started dropping with no effort what so ever, down to 121#. I should have been alarmed but instead was actually thoroughly pleased. Once taxol treatment began after my bilateral mastectomy and 4 rounds of AC, the weight started piling back on. I went up to 150# much to my dismay. I eventually got back to my original weight with strict diet and exercise when treatment stopped, but now that I am back in treatment since Sept. 2010 the weight is piling on again. It's a constant battle between my oncology team and myself about it. They're pleased to see me gaining where as, I'm not a happy camper at all. Try explaining to these people that a depressed patient is not they want. So I've managed to talk them into dropping the decadron. It's helping some but not as quickly as I'd like. I don't have the energy to exercise like I want to, and carbohydrate cravings are a real monster to contend with. But I shall persevere.

slickwilly's picture
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi Everyone. For the NHL in my face I was given CHOP-Rituxin which included a steroid. The constant feeling of hunger made me want to lick the ketchup off the side of my fridge. The ketchup has since been cleaned up. I went from 165 to 183 on a very healthy diet of my own gargen veggies, chicken breast, liver, fish and later when I was having trouble eating, Kentucky Fried Chicken. Yes KCF kept me going as it was the only thing I could taste and I was not up to cooking. I never settled into the couch potato life as it drives me crazy. It took 3 years to get back to my normal weight. I will be 56 next week and 7 years cancer free. Hello Blue and Soccerfreaks. Later Slickwilly

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2011

Dx with CC 12/2010 Colon resec, at the time I was 196 lbs, dropped to 174. Started slowly gaining weight even during my current FU5/Oxi. I have been on chemo vac for last three weeks since my platelets dropped. At the time I stopped three weeks ago I was 183 - I am now at 189 and trying to get back to 196. I play softball three times a week plus practice. Mentally I feel that if I gain weight my survivability is increased. I was Stage 2a, PET and CAT showed no sign of the cancer and I'm on adjuvant therapy. Strawberry Shortcakes have been my source of weight increase over the last three weeks. Hope my experience can relate to others.