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weight loss

Posts: 43
Joined: Jun 2010

I am 30 or so pounds overweitht, and can stand to lose that and not hurt my stamina and strength. My Radiatin Nurse told me to expect to lose 30 to 40 pounds. She told me to eat everything, and anything that I wanted now to put weight on. She said the weight loss is to be expected. Then a Rep from a Health Care company that works with my Oncologist said the Hospital would stop Radiation and Chemo if I started losing weight. I am confused here. The Hospital tells me to expect weight loss, and it will not present a problem. Then I am told if I lose weight, them an alarm will go up, and chemo and radiation will be placed on hold and hence my recovery. Can anybody share with me their weight issuses during radiation and chemo, how much they lost, and what happened in regards to their treatment. I am confused. I am 52 years old, and 5'9'' tall. Thank you everybody, my docs tell me that they have never had a patient so excited to start radiation and chemo before. I tell them the sooner that I start, then the sooner I can start teaching again.

Kimba1505's picture
Posts: 557
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Finz2lft,
When you do radiation for head and neck you are made a mask that fits over your face and neck. This mask is made specifically for you and it is molded from your face and neck. The concern is if the mask is molded, let's say when you weigh 200 lbs. and then you lose 30 lbs. during the course of treatment and you weigh 170, your mask won't fit; therefore, affecting how accurately the radiation is delivered.
Implications for chemotherapy, I am not sure about, except that nutrition and hydration are important throughout treatment.
Hope this helps.

JUDYV5's picture
Posts: 392
Joined: Jun 2010

They can remold the mask to make it smaller if they no longer think it is fitting right.
They remolded mine right on the radiation table after I got a haircut. I lost 14 pounts during treatment. I am 5'10" but thin to start with. The radiation nurses harped about the weight loss - while the nutritionist was ok with it.

Ed_PortOrange's picture
Posts: 110
Joined: Jun 2010

During the treatment phase I lost at least 5 lbs a week. I was 202 starting and finished just under 170. During this time they closely monitored my weight and sort of threatened me with a PEG, which I'm not sure if I would have been better off with? Post treatment, I lost an additional 10-15 lbs and really have struggled with putting the weight back on. I have gained 8 lbs from my low point and seem to inching higher each week. Sounds like the Rep was marketing his wares and not not enlightened to the facts.

Hope this helps, eat hearty while you can.

Best Wishes

Posts: 665
Joined: Apr 2010

I only lost a total of eight lb's during treatment. It seemed as though my body understood that I needed the extra weight & I was eating everything in sight lol. Then about three week's into treatment eating was not easy, sore throat & taste issues,that is when I started using the feeding tube. Nothing was ever mentioned with regard's to loosing weight & stopping treatment. The tube helped me to maintain the weight that I had put on.We are all so very different so what work's for some may not work for other's. Best of luck with your treatment & God Bless!

Kent Cass
Posts: 1898
Joined: Nov 2009

Not sure what's what with the weight-loss thing you posted. I lost around 17% of my weight. There is no reason to be alarmed that you lose weight, because we all do/did. The only issue would be in regards to losing too much weight.

If you need answers to questions, or have concerns as to this or that, please post them, here- that's why we're here. We've been where you're going, and survived what you WILL SURVIVE, finz2lft. The road you are about to take does have it's moments/times, but you'll be okay. The best advice I can give is to stay Positive- know that you will survive this, as we all have. Yes, you have H&N C, but so did I, and everybody else, here. This is 2010, and the medical community has come a long ways in regards to our treatment. Don't for a moment doubt that you will survive this. You MUST keep your Drs. in the loop as to how you are physically coping with it all- they will get you thru it. And, you MUST keep the Nutrition coming into your body- that Nutrition is the ammo your body needs to fight this battle the best it can. Trust me on this- we all agree as to the critical importance of good Nutrition, especially during treatment.

Sorry to hear you are here, but it is good that you are here with what ails you, finz2lft. We've all been where you are, now, and remember that time. You'll find the battle to have it's moments, but you will come to know that having fought the battle was a very worthwhile thing to do.



Scambuster's picture
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Finz,

Am 5'9" too (male) and started out at about 200-204lb. I was a little over weight - about 30lb in fact. I lost about 44lb during the ordeal. About 3 weeks into treatment I was losing 6-7lb a week - I asked my Doc about a PEG and he picked up the phone booked me in. That was a good call in hindsight as I was unable to take food by mouth from about week 4 till a good while treatment so the PEG did save me.

When you say you can afford to lose weight, that is a small positive in this. I am back to about 170lb now and feeling great with my new/old weight from 15 yrs ago. I am not gaining anymore for the moment and I keep fit so all is good though I did need to buy all new clothes.

Your correct weight as per the BMI test should be at most 170lbs. Does that mean you are around 200lb now or more ??? The BMI does seem to want you to be quite thin but it is a healthier feel than being overweight.

As for the Reps, comment, ignore and talk to your Doctors. The post above about the Mask getting loose is 'very' important but your Radio Techies should be onto that. I had a new mask made in week 5. If your mask gets lose - TELL YOUR RADIOLOGIST ! If you lose too much weight, your Doctors will intervene. The PEG is a very good idea.

Lastly, While packing on a few extra pounds may be OK, doing it by eating rubbish food is not. You have Cancer, so eat a healthy diet, study up on it and reap the benefits. You may need to change whatever you were doing before re: diet, lifestyle, exercise- to make your body healthy so it fights off cancer and other diseases in the future. Healthier is better.

All the best.


Pumakitty's picture
Posts: 652
Joined: Mar 2010

My dad finished treatment a little over a week ago for tongue cancer. He lost about 10 pounds during treatment and my have lost another 5 since. His weight was checked every week by the rad nurse. They will keep a close watch and I am sure will talk with you if they see it is becoming an issue.

My dad was on of the lucky ones that was able to eat all through treatment. He also drink 2-3 cans of Ensure or Boost to help with calorie intake.

This site is full of information and people willing to answear all of your questions. I think I posted something every week and got amazing information.

Good luck with everything and keep us posted.


dennis318's picture
Posts: 349
Joined: Feb 2010

I had my regular Cancer meet yesterday, and a hyperberic treatment yesteray, i need to get rid of a few doctors, but I love my first group, sorry to say my weight has become the issue, i eat, yes and struggle, i do eat breakfast lunch, dinner, with frosty malts in between and ensure when i can afford. my height is 6'...my weight is 140 now, OUCH, Doctors gave me a new drug for increase my hungar, and a meet with a pyhscologist the end of this month, I had gained 154 lbs earlier, and something went wrong, I am eating, tired of eating!!!I packed on an extra 20 lbs. before i started, thank god, " HAD A LOT OF FEED BACK FROM THE DEPRESSION, THATS WWHY I DECEIDED TO GET HELP AND SEE, YOU GUYS TALKED ME INTO IT. Trying so hard to beat this, and so tired all the time, i got everything filed at the dissability office, and will know within 3-4 weeks, i was lucky and my case worker, she is a go getter for cancer victims, so she has everything in her lap and I'm still going to the other doctors getting more info, I have a friend who is driving me up North to see my family, for 5 days, in mid july, looking forward to this very much, so i will take my computer with me and haven't had a vacation in 2 years, I can forget cancer for a short time, and catch my breat, best to all happy 4th..Dennis In Tennesse, Michigan, her I come!!!!!!!!lol

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

I wouldn't really worry at this point about the weight loss. You doc's will stay on it and advise you along the way. I'm 6' and 56 and also was well nourished prior also starting treatment.

Actually for me being over weight was a good thing as I didn't have a PEG and it never became a problem (everyone is different).

I lost around 45# altogether, most of that being that last few weeks of radiation and the next few post radiation.

All is good, I have regained the majority of my taste back as well as a lot of salivary function.

I am a little over a tear post treatment (nine weeks heavy cocktail of three types of chemo), then seven weeks of concurrent chemo with daily rads.

DENNIS ~ glad everything is going well for you, and you have sought some support. Hoping the best for you....


debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

dennis318, I'm so glad you are going to visit family!! That should definitely put a smile on your face as well as their's. It will really be good for you to be too busy to think about the cancer and the rest of your struggles. I hope you throughly enjoy yourself and make a lot of special memories!!! Enjoy, I'll be waiting to hear about the good time you had. :0)
God bless you, Dennis,

debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

finz, I was 53 when I /was diagnosed. I was way overweigth as you can see in my picture, I'm the one on the far left. I only had rad but between the time I was diagnosed (/09) and today, I have lost 80 lbs. Its alright for me b/c I was so overweight to start. That's the one good thing I got from having cancer b/c I could never lose weight on my own. My docs never mentioned anything to me about my weight loss perhaps b/c I was so overweight.
I wish you the very best in your battle and please know that you, like most of us here, will win this battle. You will be in my prayers.
God Bless you,

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