What it is
Weight gain occurs when you have an increase in body weight. Many people with cancer think they will lose weight and are surprised, and sometimes upset when they gain weight.
Why it happens
Weight gain can happen for many reasons:
People with certain types of cancer are more likely to gain weight.
Hormone therapy, certain types of chemotherapy, and medicines such asteroids can cause weight gain. These treatments can also cause your body to retain water, which makes you feel puffy and gain weight.
Some treatments can also increase your appetite so you feel hungry and eat more. You gain weight when you eat more calories than your body needs.
Cancer and its treatments can cause fatigue and changes in your schedule that may lead to a decrease in activity. Being less active can cause weight gain.
Ways to manage with food
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. These are high in fiber and low in calories. They can help you feel full without adding a lot of calories.
Eat foods that are high in fiber, such as whole grain bread, cereals, and pasta. People with certain types of cancer should not eat a lot of fiber, so check with your doctor before adding fiber to your diet.
Choose lean meats, such as lean beef, pork trimmed of fat, or poultry without skin.
Choose low-fat milk products. These include low-fat or non-fat yogurt and skim or 1% milk.
Eat less fat. Eat only small amounts of butter, mayonnaise, desserts, fried foods, and other high-calorie foods.
Cook with low-fat methods, such as broiling, steaming, grilling, or roasting.
Eat small portion sizes. When you eat out, take half of your meal home to eat later.
Eat less salt. This helps you not retain water if your weight gain is from fluid retention.
Other ways to manage
Talk with a dietitian. He or she can discuss ways to limit the amount of salt you eat if your weight gain is from fluid retention. A dietitian can also help you choose healthy foods and make healthy changes to your favorite recipes.
Exercise each day. Not only does exercise help you burn calories, but studies show that it helps people with cancer feel better. Talk with your doctor or nurse about how much exercise to do while having cancer treatment.
Talk with your doctor before going on a diet to lose weight. He or she can help figure out why you are gaining weight and prescribe medicine (called a diuretic) if you have fluid retention.