Radiotherapy to your head and neck area can make you lose weight because you might have: 

    • a sore or dry mouth
    • a poor appetite
    • taste changes due to treatment
    • difficulty swallowing due to soreness or swelling in your throat

    These effects might be temporary and gradually go back to normal after treatment ends. But for some people, the effects may be permanent. There are things you can do to help keep your weight up. 

    Why it's important to maintain your weight

    Your radiotherapy team plan your treatment using scans of you that were taken before your treatment began. They plan it very precisely using your body measurements. This means if you lose or gain weight during radiotherapy it can change the amount of radiation that the cancer or nearby healthy cells receive. 

    Because of this, it is important that your weight stays around what it was when you had your planning scan. If you lose too much weight, your radiographers will work out the effect that this may have on your planned treatment and see if you need another planning scan. 

    Losing too much weight might also make you feel weaker.

    Coping with weight loss

    It's important to eat and drink as well as you can during your radiotherapy. Your side effects aren't likely to start for a week or so, which means for as long as you feel well try to eat your normal diet. 

    You might see a dietitian once a week during your treatment. They can help to advise you on foods that are easier to eat. They can also prescribe or get your doctor to prescribe nutritional supplements, such as high calorie drinks to help keep your weight up. Remember to drink plenty of other fluids too. 

    Your doctor might also prescribe strong painkillers if your throat is very sore and eating and drinking is painful.

    Try not to drink alcohol (especially spirits) or smoke because this can make your mouth and throat very sore.

    If eating becomes very difficult you might have:

    • liquid feed through a drip into a vein or a tube down your nose to your stomach
    • a feeding tube put into your stomach through the skin (called a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy or PEG tube)

    Some hospitals might arrange for you to have a feeding tube before you start radiotherapy - this is to stop you from losing too much weight. This varies from hospital to hospital. 

    How much weight do you lose during radiation treatment?
    Weight changes during the radiotherapy were as follows: 78.7% of patients lost weight, 8.5% gained weight (0.7 −3.6 kg), and 12.8% had no weight change. Weight loss was significant (t-test two-paired, p-value <0.001) and ranged from 1.1% to 18.9%. more
    Do medical students lose weight?
    But it can help with focus while studying, so there may be some efficiencies gained. Virtually all freshmen medical students lose weight due to anatomy and the smell of formaldehyde. It gets in your skin, clothes, etc. It is not unusual for 12-20 lbs to be lost. more
    Do antibiotics help lose weight?
    Antibiotics kill off harmful bacteria but also those vital to gastrointestinal health. Research has shown that repeated antibiotics use can forever change the microbiota, altering the way it breaks down food and increasing the calories of nutrients absorbed. This, in turn, can increase weight gain. more
    Does radiotherapy help lose weight?
    Feeling sick and tired during radiotherapy can make you lose your appetite, which could lead to weight loss. But it's important to try to eat healthily and maintain your weight during treatment. more
    Does diarrhea lose weight?
    Diarrhea is usually caused by bacterial infections or stress and lasts several days. It can become dangerous when it lasts for weeks or more because it encourages water loss in the body. People with diarrhea can lose a lot of weight if they've been sick for a while, but they're losing mostly water weight. more
    How does fasting lose weight?
    When you fast, you consume fewer calories than normal—or no calories at all—which reduces your overall calorie intake. Reducing your calorie intake can help you lose weight, but it also causes several changes to the way your body stores and burns fat. more
    Does tea help lose weight?
    Teas have a type of flavonoid called catechins that may boost metabolism and help your body break down fats more quickly. And the caffeine in many teas increases your energy use, causing your body to burn more calories. These two compounds probably work best together for any weight loss that may occur. more
    Can reflexology help lose weight?
    So to answer everybody's question on can reflexology help with weight loss, the answer is yes. It can aid a weight loss program you are on, but if you are not exercising regularly and eating a healthy balanced diet then no amount of reflexology is going to get you to the weight you want. more
    How do vegans lose weight?
    Vegans can lose weight quickly if eating a whole food plant-based diet. This involves eating foods in their whole, unprocessed forms such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. These foods are high in nutrients but low in calories compared to standard Western diets. more
    How do Scandinavians lose weight?
    The Nordic diet is quite similar to the well-known Mediterranean diet. Both include plenty of freshwater fish, root veggies, fruit, and whole grains — such as oats and barley — and limit the consumption of red meat, dairy, sugars, and processed foods. The main difference is in the oily fats. more
    Does drinking water lose weight?
    Water can be really helpful for weight loss. It is 100% calorie-free, helps you burn more calories and may even suppress your appetite if consumed before meals. The benefits are even greater when you replace sugary beverages with water. more


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