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Cancer

I need help with weight gain

08/03/2007

Question:

My sister has late stage 3 lung cancer. She had an operation on her lungs. I believe she had the lower half of one lung removed. Fogive me if I sound like I don`t know too much but I really don`t. No-one is willing to tell me. My question is she now wieghts 103 lbs. (very under wieght for her) She is about 5`10 every time she goes in for her chemo-theraphy she ends up in the hospital because shes not strong enough for the medicine they give her. And they give her a blood tranfusion cause of her white/red blood cell count is down (I`m hoping you understand what I`m saying) They feed her and she starts to feel better. They tell her she has to eat but she tells the family she can`t keep anything down. But if she doesn`t start eating, she will die! she is running out of time with this. She cannot have her treatments because she is in the hospital and she is so under weight they will not give them to her. She needs to gain weight! and fast! I recomended wieght gain formula the body builders use since it`s pure protein. Is there anything else she could eat or drink that is extremly high in protein that would be of help? Remember she has a hard time keeping things down. Maybe a pill I could suggest to someone to make her hungery? Somthing? anything? please! I need some help! I don`t want to lose her cause she`s under weight. Help me put some wieght on her so she has a chance to fight this the right way. Thank-you for your time and help.

Answer:

It is very common for people with lung carcinoma to lose weight. A little bit of the weight loss is due to not eating, but the majority of the weight loss is caused by proteins made by the cancer that breaks down muscles and fat in the body. Even if she ate well and took supplements, she still could be losing weight. So taking supplements that body builders take probably won’t help, because the cancer itself will not allow her to gain any weight. Most of the supplements out there are for healthy people; it is possible that her kidneys may not be able to handle the extra protein and kidney problems would make her worse.

If she has nausea or vomiting, than ask her doctor how to take care of those things. The only scientifically studied supplements that MAY be helpful in slowing down the weight loss would be 2 grams of eicosapentanoic acid per day.  Try Prosuretm or Juventm which is a blend of specific amino acids taken twice per day. It is rare to see someone pass on from starvation; it is the cancer causing this weight loss and other problems.

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Response by:

Joanna M Brell, MD Joanna M Brell, MD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University