Can you gain weight with cancer?

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to increase your body weight when diagnosed with cancer? Well, the short answer is YES. Keep reading to know how!

Cancer- A Condition That Takes A Toll On Your Body

Cancer has a profound impact on the human body. It can make one weaker, unable to eat or drink properly and even cause rapid weight loss. However, cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy have side effects that may result in an increase in body weight.

Chemotherapy Is No Joke

Chemotherapy is a standard treatment for most cancers that involves using powerful drugs to destroy cancer cells. In addition to killing healthy cells, it also affects taste buds by making food unpalatable. Due to this nausea and vomiting are common which means there will be decreased consumption of foods leading to poor nutrition status resulting in significant loss of body mass(1).

Luckily chemo-induced hair loss makes wig-shopping tons easier without all those pesky split ends.

Radiation Therapy Has Its Consequences Too

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles such as X-Rays or Gamma Rays is another way doctors battle against tumors by destroying fast-growing cells but these aren’t restricted just towards tumours unfortunately they affect other normal cells too causing damage daily(DSA),
causing damage thereby disrupting essential hormones produced for metabolism resulting in appetite changes and increased cravings.

There exist ways through which an individual undergoing treatment can boost their appetite while maintaining adequate nutrition:

Consuming Nutritious Foods And Calories.

When battling with cancer consuming nutrient-dense foods should be incorporated into everyday meals where necessary add extra calories not from fatty diets but protein-rich options like Legummes Salmon Eggs etc would suffice(2).
With each meal plan out beforehand what type of nutrients one aims consume so different nutritional goals can be achieved.


Keeping active through mild exercises like Regular walks or swimming can lead to the stimulation of the appetite, consequently leading to a boost in bodyweight(3).

Re-Orientating The Mindset

It’s OK not to control everything. Don’t aim for immediate change but make small advances towards health(4) goals.One simple habit could build new ways and enhance your outcomes.

When Chemo turns one into a living couch potato we don’t really have much wiggle room (5)

Foods To Incorporate Into Your Diet When Battling Cancer And Aiding Weight Gain:

• Protein-rich diets e.g dairy products nut butter and avocado.

• Calorie-dense foods such as olive oil.

• Nuts high in antioxidants that helps reduce inflammation typically found in cancers;

• Fruits high in lipids such as Avocado are incredible add-ons when preparing salads or making smoothies

Fighting cancer takes a toll on an individual’s physical, emotional wellbeing often resulting In weight loss. However with opting nutritious food choices staying active throughout ones journey accompanied by setting feasible goals; Combining healthy habits apart from gainaining improved nutritional status catching some humor along the way may just give you what you’re looking for even if it means gaining some unwanted pounds.

Stay Calm, Stay Nurtured & Keep Smiling!


(1) – ASCO American Society Of Clinical Oncology (2020), Malnutrition and cancer [online] Available at:

(2) ACS Guidelines(2022) Nutrition for Adult Survival Guidelines.Available at:

(3) Hojman et al., Cancer-induced muscle wasting: pathophysiology and translational opportunities, Trends in cancer 127(6):476-489.

(4) Sirois free Mindset Approach (2019), The Science And Practice Of Self-Control. Available at:

(5) ATXFitness lnc,(2017). Coping with Chemo – Austin Monthly.
Available at :

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