Mesothelioma and its treatment can cause a loss of ones normal appetite. This occurs due to a number of reasons, such as:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Tumour growth
- Breathing difficulties
- Chemotherapy (nausea, change of taste & smell)
chemotherapy can cause normal cells that line your mouth and stomach, and intestines to be irritated or destroyed, thus causing food and fluids to taste differently. They may even taste bitter or metallic or sometimes sweet. Once chemotherapy has stopped – appetite returns to normal approximately after a six week period of adjustment.
It is very important that you try and eat as much as you can during your chemotherapy treatment. You will need to maintain your weight and overall strength. Patients who eat well seem to be able to cope better and fight off any infection easier as their immune system is stronger than those lacking in vital nutrients.
What can I do if I have lost my appetite?
The best thing to do is to eat anything you want and as much as you like. I.e. if you fancy jelly and ice-cream at 12 mid-night then eat it. The following is a list of suggestions that may help you.
Eat high protein and calorie foods
Add protein powder to milk if you are experiencing a particularly bad day
Try and do a little walking outdoors or enjoyable activity to boost your appetite
Don’t drink with meals (can make you feel full)
Don’t use stainless steel utensils if experiencing metallic tastes (try plastic)
Add a wide variety of foods to your menu (try lots of different food)
If you are experiencing severe appetite problems – you will need to consult your doctor or specialist as patients suffering from cancer can develop a serious problem called ‘cachexia‘. Cachexia is a condition that causes a breakdown in muscle mass in patients with chronical a illness. Your doctor can prescribe an appetite stimulant such as ‘megace‘ which will helpfully boost your appetite.