Symptom and description
Loss of appetite is a loss of the desire to eat. Not eating can lead to weight loss. Weight loss can cause weakness and fatigue, which affect your ability to perform normal activities. Proper nutrition also helps your body prevent and fight infection. Weight loss or lack of appetite may be due to the cancer or sometimes to treatments for the cancer.
You will need to learn the possible causes for loss of appetite and inform your doctor of the signs. You should report the following causes for loss of appetite:
Taste changes, such as with sugar, salt, caffeine, meat
Side effects from medications
Prevention and management
Increasing food intake is important in maintaining your weight. Maintaining your weight will help you perform your daily activities.
To stimulate appetite:
To avoid a feeling of fullness:
Avoid high-fat foods.
Drink liquids at least 30 minutes before meals.
Chew food slowly.
Avoid gas-forming foods, such as cabbage or broccoli and carbonated liquids such as beer or soda.
Cook all raw protein foods, such as eggs, meats, poultry, fish.
Thaw frozen foods in refrigerator or microwave, not at room temperature.
Wash all fruits and vegetables.
Use only pasteurized dairy products.
Wash hands well with soap and water when preparing or serving foods.
Use strict cleaning procedures for all utensils and cooking/storage containers.
Refrigerate all foods in need of refrigeration after shopping or meal completion.
Serve hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Avoid leaving foods at room temperature.
Do not use foods beyond expiration dates.
Other methods of appetite stimulation may include the use of medications approved as appetite stimulants, as recommended by your doctor.
To manage side effects:
Report any side effects to your doctor or nurse, for instance, dry mouth, mouth sores, nausea and vomiting, or constipation.
Ask if your medication needs changing.
Keep a log or diary of changes in mood, appetite, or other feelings you experience.
Management of weight loss or lack of appetite is aimed at increasing food intake. To monitor your success:
Notify your nurse and/or doctor if any of the following occur:
Last Reviewed Date: 11/10/2012
© 2013 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.