Weight loss whilst on chemo

Hi...I'm new to the forum. I would like to know if there is a way to safely lose weight whilst on chemo? I have chemo in tablet form which I take twice a day with food, two weeks on and a week off. This is permanent as my cancer is stage 4....well until it stops working anyway.

I used to be very fit and very active but can't now. I was 8st 4 for years...now after 5yrs diagnosed I am 11st 6. Not good.

Most exercise is ruled out either due to the chemo (swimming) or that my bones are 'compromised' (anything aerobic)

Help please???!!!


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8 Replies

  • My heart goes out to you. Are you able to take short walks? Stick to healthy foods, cut out the sugar. Can you see a Dietitian at your Doctors/Hospital?

    I am not very good at giving advice but I hope this helps.

    Best of Luck

  • This is something you seriously need to seek medical advice on. Speak to your doctor. They might be able to refer you to a nutritionist. Good luck :)

  • Someone I know has just finished a course of chemo. When he put on weight the nurses used to joke with him that they and maternity were the only departments in the hospital who liked to see their patients gain weight. I agree with the reply above that you need proper medical advice from your hospital care team. Good luck and I'm sure they or the Macmillan support services should be able to guide you in the right direction.

    Do let us all know how you get on.

  • That's a tough call. There's such a phenomenal range of different chemotherapy drugs and protocols, never mind different cancers and stages. And your weight doesn't really say much without knowing about your height and frame (are you relatively petite?).

    It might be more successful to reframe the situation in terms of being as healthy and feeling as good as you possibly can: enjoying life.

    You might find that some tweaks to your diet in terms of flavour and variety will produce their own safe weight loss. You deserve every meal and snack being delicious and nutritious. And there may be things you can do to improve your muscle tone. I am no expert but I am not sure that compromised bones rules out *all* aerobic exercise although it may well be that high impact exercise would be inappropriate.

    It sounds as though you've had a lot to cope with and getting your head around the changes will be your biggest challenge so that you can live the life you have to the full. A lot of people who have been very fit and active haven't mastered being still. There are a lot of resources out there around mindfulness and similar approaches which might produce all kinds of benefits for you.

    Good luck!

  • I am so sorry for what you are going through and I wish you all the very best. I have an issue of having systemic lupus with having to take a fairly high dose of steroids so losing weight has been difficult as like you my bones are not great and I broke my foot walking in heels. I am also immune compromised. I tried cycling but was unwell afterwards so now I do walks mostly but gently and when lying down gentle yoga type exercises like leg lifts and tensing muscles like stomach. You need to be careful you don't overdo things and end up feeling unwell and take doctors advice at all stages. I changed my diet totally to include a massive salad every day to stop me feeling hungry for snack things. The salad has had a positive effect on my health. I also eat the wee bags of apple slices for snacks. Best of luck

  • what a comprehensive reply (bluerider) especially the 'tension' suggestion. the type of exercises recommended to air passengers while sitting may be helpful for starters: perhaps while sitting at your computer, walking to the shop for your morning paper etc. etc.

  • Your best move is talking to your oncologist or the hospital nurse where you get treated. If you are still having chemo treatment, you should concentrate on getting better first as chemo destroy good cells as well as bad.

    You can still do the 12 week plan without following the caloric count. You need the goodness in you to cope with Chemo. The 12 week plan is just a plan to teach you good eating habit so you can't loose.

    Remember, you need fresh air and lots of oxygen, so if you can, maybe do some gentle movements and breeze in and breeze out deeply.

    The medical profession should be able to advise you.

  • thank you guys....when i was playing sport etc I always went on about diet and exercise but now I'm more inactive its so much harder. I do try go for a walk as many evenings as i can with a friend but just wish I could do more...cept for the totally knackered days when going to loo is enough exercise haha

    I see my oncologist and demo nurse this week so i shall ask the q.

    Thanks again...great support!

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