Malnutrition and consequences
Learn to spot the signs
Consequences of treatment
Nausea, loss of appetite, a change to your sense of taste and tiredness are just some of the side effects that you have to fight during the course of treatment. People often lose weight without intending to.
Ensuring the body is well supplied with energy, protein, vitamins and minerals is beneficial during this stressful phase.
Spotting the first signs of malnutrition
- Unintentional weight loss in the past 3 – 6 months
- Feeling tired all the time
- Weak muscles
- Side effects from therapy influencing food intake, e.g. pain or dryness in mouth or throat, nausea, diarrhoea
Changes that influence nutritional status during cancer and cancer treatment
- Loss of appetite
- Change in your sense of taste
- Inflammation of the mucous membranes (mucositis), pain when swallowing and/or chewing
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Digestive problems, constipation or diarrhoea
- Exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue
- Weight loss
Keep a positive attitude and stay active
Sometimes it is hard to remain optimistic, but a strong mind is a major factor in retaining your motivation and zest for life.
- Talk to friends and family members about your feelings and fears. Don’t carry your worries around with you all on your own.
- If possible try to get regular exercise by walking, cycling or even some light training every day. Exercise strengthens the muscles, improves your emotional mood and helps to ensure that your digestion remains regular.
- A trust-based relationship with the treating physicians is the most important requirement for successful therapy. Make use of the experience and knowledge of the medical specialists and nutritional advisers.
Read how Tina gets help
The therapy greatly undermined Tina's courage and morale, but on the good days she wanted to contribute something to her treatment herself. She asked her doctors for information on other things she could do to counteract the weight loss and fatigue.
By changing her eating habits, she was able to prevent further weight loss, and with her better nutrient intake and energy she had more strength to get through the treatment.