Anorexia and cachexia are common causes of malnutrition in cancer patients.
Nutritional therapy is used to help patients maintain a healthy weight, stay strong, maintain healthy body tissues and reduce side effects during and after treatment.
As explained by the National Cancer Institute, anorexia is a loss of appetite or desire to eat and is a condition that can occur at the beginning of treatment, or as the disease grows or spreads. Some patients already have it when they are diagnosed with cancer. Cachexia, on the other hand, is a condition characterized by weakness, and weight, fat and muscle loss. It is common in people with tumors that affect their diet and digestion.
Some tumors change how the body uses certain nutrients, such as how the body uses proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Therefore, even if it seems as though an individual’s body has eaten enough, it cannot absorb all the food’s nutrients.
The recommendation is for a nutritionist to be part of the person’s healthcare team in order to determine what steps to take to prevent these secondary diseases from worsening the situation.
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