Health Questions and Answers

Question: How does weight loss affect the prognosis of cancer patients?

Answer:

Cancer patients who do not show weight loss have a significant improvement in survival rate, as compared to those who lose weight. Weight loss has been associated with a decrease in clinical status as defined by increases in cancer stage and in the number of tumor sites. The Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Study analyzed the relationship between weight loss and diagnosis. They found that gastric and pancreatic cancer patients presented with the highest degree of weight loss. An intermediate weight loss was detected in unfavorable non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, acute non-lymphocytic leukemia, breast cancer, and sarcomas had the least association with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Patients who are in the malnourished group have increased complications and mortality from all three treatment modalities.

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