I gained 35 lbs during chemotherapy

Am I the only person that has gained weight during chemotherapy? I was diagnosed with third stage ovarian cancer while I was attending Culinary College. I lost weight one month and gained it during the two weeks that I could hold my head up. I would be cooking all night long because if I was going to die I sure as hell wasn't going to leave a skinny corpse. After chemo I went into remission and I think that the weight gain might have helped me survive. But, now I am afraid of going to my exam on wed. I went from a size 10 to a 16 and I think that I put about five more pounds on since my last visit. I have a positive outlook but If its back I don't know what I am going to do. I take care of a mentally challenged older sister and if I die she won't have anyone.

Anyone else gain weight from chemo?

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Dear Art_Student,

I wish I could be an art student again. Id settle right now for having my canvasses all framed.
Now I just buy fabric when I can and dream of the art quilts Id like to make. I am beginning a TEAL stash!

I gained weight during my second round of treatment because I didnt have as much nausea and as soon as the mettalic taste in my mouth went away I certainly wanted to enjoy food. I think fear of side effects, and permanent injury. gave me a push to overeat as well. So Im sure we are not the only ones, we just are not the majority.

Good luck with your exam. I will be hoping and praying for you and your sister. NormaJ

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I too gained weight after my second treatment. I went from a size 10 to 12/14 and is now back to 10. I have changed my diet completely. I eat only whole grains (brown rice), fresh fruits (berries, watermelon, grapes, papaya, promegranate juice, etc); fresh vegetables (broccoli, cowdler flower, brusel sprout, bell peppers); legumes (lentils, black & red beans, sugar snap peas, blackeye peas, kidney beans); spices (cumin, rosemary, ginger, tumeric, onions, garlic, sea salt); NO sugar, extra virgin olive oil and extra virgin coconut oil. I also drink about 3 cups of green tea daily. If I need sugar I use pure raw honey. I do not drink dairy products.

Exercise few times a week also help. Take care of yourself and your sister.


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Hi Art Student,
I noticed some weight gain during chemo, again after the metal taste in my mouth wore off. I think some of the chemo treatments have "steroids" in them and they can make you have a real appetite, this could be part of the problem. Also, some of the wight gain is just fluids. If you think about it, they do put quite a bit of fluid in us when we get our treatments. All that said, I do agree with your other repsonse, and follow the diet she spelled out as well. The main things to stay away from are fatty meats, and NO SUGAR. Cancer LOVES sugar. This is why they give you a sucrose injection before you have a Pet Scan. You fast from all foods for 12 hours, then they give you sugar to "wake up" and iritate the cancer cells you have so they will light up on the Pet Scan to show where they are located. A well balanced diet is always the best way to go. Once you are done with your treatments, and get your strength back, you can do some light exercising and get those extra pounds off. Don't stress out about it, and just concentrate on getting well.
We will all be thinking of you- energygirl

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You are not alone. I gained around 25 pounds through out this process. Went from a size 10 to a 12/14. I have never weighed this much in my life! I am now in remission and am attending
Weight Watchers. I lose one week -- gain the next. Work out at the gym routinely. I have read a few articles that say this stuff messes with you metabolism. My gyn-onc said an average of 10 pounds per treatment. I have had two rounds so, that's not too far off. I just don't know why I am having such a hard time getting it off now that treatment is over. Looking at it from the others side, 25 pounds is better than having the disease ravaging uncontrolled in my body though. I think we must take the sour with the sweet with this journey. Remember. God loves us regardless of our dress size is. Keep trusting in Him and maintaining a good attitude is a lot more important that what we weigh!

Hang in there,

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You most certainly are not alone.
I was diagnosed in July 2005 - Stage IIIB. Since my treatments began in 2005, I also put on 35 lbs. The steroids during treatment seem to cause some weight gain but since I have been out of treatment since March 2006 I can not use that as an excuse for going from a size 10 to 16. I weigh more now than I did when I was pregnant with either of my two children. My doctor also suggested Weightwatchers. I exercise at least 3 days a week walking about 3 miles each day. My friends who had hysterectomy - no cancer- has also had a problem with weight gain. So part of it may be our metabolisms slowing down as we age.

I think during treatment I ate as much as I could -when it tasted good -so that I would not loose weight. Now everything tastes good and I feel good.

I hope that both of us can loose those pounds. Good Luck

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I too gained weight during my chemo treatment 50 lbs. I can't do a lot of exercise because of the side effects on my joints from the treatment and the problem I have with my feet. Somethimes I just fell like giving up. But I had rather be 50 lbs heavier and cancer free. I have not been able to get my mind set in trying to lose the weight . I know I can't continue like this but I really can eat anything I did the entire time of going through 12 chemo treatments. My problem is the sugar that is all I want. I know some people tell me that the sugar just feeds the cancer. I really don't know what to do.
Any suggestions?

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I also gained weight while on Chemo, I was diagnosed in June of 06 lost 35 lbs while in the hospital, I gained it all back when on chemo, they give you steriods to counteract the nausea, I didn"t know this till I questioned my nurse one day and she said that is why you are eating everything in site. So you are not alone. I am sorry that you have this horrible disease. I went for my 3 month check up just yesterday and my ca125 is 7.3 and the dr is very pleased so I am all set for 3 months. Good luck on you appt tomorrow, my prayers are with you, please keep in touch. I will send your name to my sister to be entered in her prayer group for continues remission

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I have definitely gained weight since being on chemo. In fact, the nurse in my doctor's office said that most people thought you would lose weight, and that is not true. I think I have gained weight because of the steroids they are giving me....Decadron. I am not quite up to the weight I was during pre-surgery, but I am getting close. During chemo, I am not worrying so much about how much I eat. I will wait until treatment ends to consider that. I think it is important to keep up the strength right now!

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Hi All

I never thought that I could have a good excuse for the weight that I gained. It never occurred to Me that the decadron could be part of the culprit. Part of my problem is the fatigue as well as aching joints and muscles. I make myself get up and walk at least two times a day 2 blocks at a time. Then I get dizzy and weak. Im hoping that it is a virus and I get more energy back. What works the best for me is to just keep moving a little at a time. If I do too much at one time without pacing myself it seems to speed the chemicals back through my system too fast and I have more fatigue than usual

My determination is if I have a spurt of energy i get going and do something, anything, because it helps my attitude to accomplish a good thing. But every once a while I just have to give in and get a "sugarless" turtle and indulge. Especially right after an infusion. Then I cut out all the sugar for a while and feel really goood. One way I knew that I relapsed was that I began to crave sugar all over again.. So I would have dried fruit, something that made me feel like I was good to myself and be very sure I had my salads, too.

Ladies, thanks for the stories because it will help me eat my vegetables tomorrow and puts a smile on my face today to know that we really are in this together and our experiences are so similar.

Keep up the good work. You sure are helping me keep up my courage! Norma J

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This is so very interesting. I have also gained weight, and I crave sugar like there is no tomorrow!! I was diagnosed and had my surgery (debulking) exactly 1 year ago, and as I left the hospital one year ago October 10th I was so skinny I couldn't find a pair of pants that would not fall off of me! So then I kept saying how much better it was to be fat!

Then I started Chemo, and I did the regular course of carboplatnum, and whatever, now I am on a clinical trial which is maybe avastin, maybe not (you know -- double blind study) - but if it's a placebo, it's a placebo that gives crazy joint pains! Anyway, all of my pants are so tight on me now it is crazy! and my boobs have become tremendous - I keep having to buy new bras and I'm beginning to think they are not going to make them in my size soon! I have gained 20 pounds since last October. I take yoga one night a week, I take evening walks with my husband, I work and spend a lot of time sitting at the computer and so I make sure I get up to walk around the block at least once a day. I find that my joints hurt the most when I have been sitting a long time so movement always makes them feel better (kind of like the Tin Man!) I asked my Onc. about the sugar feeding the cancer - because I crave it so much, but she said you would really have to have sugar intravenously to have that make a difference. I'm not taking steroids so that can't be the excuse for my getting fat, I did consider the post menopause theory about slower metabolism, but I really don't know.

The trial will end early spring next year so I am hoping I will lose some weight after then, but that is also a double edged sword because I always feel safer being in treatment to keep the cancer away. - I know you women know what I am talking about! I guess fat is better than sick, but you know no one ever really wants to be fat!

Anyway, this is what makes this site so great because I feel so much better knowing others are going through the same thing. Sometimes, I just think I'm crazy! Thanks for being there!

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dear girls

i have been on chemo since my recurrence in 2005 jan i was in remission for 2 jears diagnosed with stage 111c ovarian cancer my original diagnosis was in 2002 july did 8 rounds of carbo taxol no consolidation i didn't feel it would make a difference any way the point is i always poo poo every ache and pain off to the chemo i have alway tolerated my chemo well so if i have little ache or pain i just push it off to working to hard or not getting enough sleep well last year my hair really started to fall out even thought i had been on the same chemo for several months i was also having bad aching in the joints which would get some relief with activity so i just thougth with all the chemo i will just have to deal with it i decided to get my thyroid levels checked because some girls at work were all becoming hypothyroid and the simptoms are similar well low and behold my numbers were off the chart i was started on thyroid medication and within a week i felt 100 percent better this is a simple blood test can't hurt to try and if you are hypothyroid with treatment you can feel really great so don't think everything is the chemo

my prayers are with you all

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The avastin isn't the cause of the joint pain because I didnt take part in that clinical study, (more to you on the later) and I took the same two drugs you did, the taxol and the carboplatnum and I have horrible pain in my joints and in my arms and legs. I've gained weight, craved sugar.....icecream mmmmmmnnnnnn, lol, They gave me steroids and I had no idea it could cause weight gain like it did. My fat pants are too tight ! Ha! Do you have any idea if hormones also play a part in this? Since they took out everything and I have no hormones, how does that affect someone? I'd like to talk to you about the trial. Be happy,

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I gained weight too, about 25 lbs and it's staying with me even though I've been thru with chemo for 10 months!
Also have terrible joint pain, especially knees and feet, especially when I've been driving or sitting for an hour or so.
Also recognize the notes about craving sugar and about fatigue. I did not eat much sugar before the surgery & chemo. I still give out of energy about 4 PM each day.
Does all this sound common this long after end of chemo?

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I would look around the chemo room and think most patients on chemo seem to be losing weight. I was gaining it with each passing week. I would tell my nurse and doctor everytime I went for treatment. I was already overweight and have diabetes, the last thing I needed was to gain weight. Everyone I spoke told me not to worry about it. They told me it was normal to gain weight during treatment due to the decrease in activity and the desire for comfort food. They told me to wait until I was out of treatment. I went 6 months before I saw a change, and I believe it had more to do with a change in my diabetes meds. It was very frustrating and didn't do much for my self esteem, yet I felt forgiving myself was important given what I had been through. As you recover and feel stronger try to do some exercise or participate in a program that may help you lose the weight. Try joining a support group for cancer patients/survivors. I have found participating in the support group beneficial on so many levels.
Be well.

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It is so comforting to read these comments. My weight gain has been moderate but steady over the last two months since I went back into chemo.

6 years ago after initial diagnosis and 6 treatments were concluded, I lost 24 lbs. (12 of those had been gained during treatment) through exercise and careful eating . In the five years of remission that followed, I managed to keep off all but about 5 pounds of that. But since starting gemzar in September for my second reoccurrence (which is working, by the way) I have gained 5 pounds. I will admit that I am not exercising like I did for about 4 years because of fatigue, but my eating patterns have not changed, yet I gain, a bit each treatment. I had begun to suspect the decadron and the comments I am reading seem to confirm that as the source of this gain.

I will be patient and continue to eat right and possible walk more, then not worry about it. It was fun to be slimmer all that time though. Actually I am just grateful to be feeling so well and heading back to remission. I guess those few pounds are really the least of my concerns. Miriam in Oregon

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Hi ttba, I am now 20 months post chemo and those chemo side effects have just now become a thing of the past! I don't know if it's because I had so much chemo (18 months) but it took about the same time off chemo as I had been on it for the fatigue and joint pain to wear off. At one point about half way into the additional 12 months of taxol in consolidation therapy I had no reflexes in my lower legs, so you know the body has alot of repair work to do when the treatment is over! :)

I have been on a vegan diet and herbs and supplements under the direction of the Pine Street Clinic in San Anselmo, CA and I credit that with my continued recovery. I'm doing well now and brushing off my resume, expecting to get back to work.

I had lost 20 pounds before my diagnosis in October 2004. Then over the course of treatment I gained 30 pounds. I had read in Oprah's magazine that chemo was a time in life when women gained weight and I hadn't believed it. Ha! It's the chemicals and the inactivity. Over the 20 months of no chemo I've gradually lost 15 pounds and am just about right now, but that was not because I was on a weight loss diet. It was just overtime thing's getting back to normal on a very healthy vegan diet.

I found in general it was difficult for people to understand that I wasn't instantly better when the chemo stopped. Be gentle with yourself and support your body's repair work with adequate rest, a vegan diet and supplements. It gets better!


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Hi Ladies,
It is so interesting to find that my situation is not unique. I gained 15 pounds during chemo and have struggled for a year to take it off since finishing treatment. I"ll have some success with dieting and exercise and lose a few pounds but then I revert to eating more and I gain it right back. I've moved to San Francisco now and my new doctor has shared that the surgery and treatment does slow down the metabolism. There's no easy fix here. She said to get out and pound the pavement, eat right and have reasonable expectations. I agree with those of you who noted that it's better to be a little chubby than to be sick with cancer. I'm going to be a little less crazy about this; eat well and exercise AND buy some larger clothes.
Happy Holidays to all.

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you said you relapsed because you were craving sugar? that's interesting. What other symptoms of recurrance did you have?

you can email me privately in case i don't remember to come back here to check.

hope to hear from you.



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Dear Sanrose,

I am not sure that I had a recurance because I craved sugar. But I am sure that the craving was an indication that I was getting ready to have a recurance. What I have read is that a cancer cell has 11 times the sugar receptors than a norma cell.

I have not had anyone tell me that this is backed up by reliable research yet. It might be one of those touchy subjects no one wants to comment on because we dont have good proof yet.
All I know is that many doctors who write books on cancer do say stay off all sugars. And one that has cancer says it very strongly.

The only other symtoms I had were places around tje edge of my intestines on the right side became sensitive to touch and were harder than the surrounding tissues. The best corroberation that I had that it was the beginning of cancer was that those spots softened immeddiately wahen I resumed chemo treatment.

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