Eli5 why do people who are battling cancer get so skinny?


Eli5 why do people who are battling cancer get so skinny?

In: 6

You lose your appetite, and your body’s fighting off a disease. Less intake + more consumption = more skinny.

My understanding is that there are two main reasons-
the first is that cancer cells demand more energy than normal cells, and may also release chemicals that speed up a person’s metabolism. Combine this with the nausea and lack of appetite associated with certain cancers and treatment options, and weight loss can happen pretty quickly.

Chemotherapy targets cells that frequently divide, since cancer cells are always dividing.

It kills the cancer cells in large numbers, but also takes out a lot of digestive lining cells, hair follicles, and immune cells that also divide a lot.

With mass casualties in your digestive tract, you’ll struggle to eat much and keep it down. What you do eat doesn’t process as well.

Chemotherapy Is poison, it Is killing cancer because it Is killing you. Your body Is trying get rid of the poison by puking And diarrhoea. So your energy intake Is really low, making your body switch to reserves, consuming fat And muscle.

It simply is loss of appetite due to the treatment. Chemo therapy and radiation wreaks havoc on the body. This makes the patient feel extremely extremely nauseous. They are unable to keep food down. When they can they can never eat much. So they slowly starve if they can’t find a way to eat. This is why it’s important for doctors to consider quality of life in cases of non removable cancers. If the chemo is just going to cause them to suffer for a few short months then it’s not worth it.

This is also why medical marijuana is such a benefit to chemo patients. THC makes people feel hungry. Among recreational users the feeling is known as “the munchies”. So using marijuana can help chemo patients feel hungry and want to eat.

I’ve seen this first hand. A family friend of mine was a big man. 300lbs at least. Unfortunately he was a constant smoker and it caught up with him. He was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer (caused by previously found and removed lung cancer). There was nothing they could do for him except give him a little more time. Over the course of a year he lost over 150lbs just from not being hungry. He was wasting away. During the same time they legalized the use of medical marijuana in the state and he got a prescription. Within a month he was back to 200lbs. He wasn’t the same as before but he didn’t look withered. He died a few months later from the cancer, but he wasn’t purely suffering in the meantime.