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Treating Cancer Cachexia

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“Cachexia is a condition characterized by loss of body mass — including muscular atrophy — that is usually accompanied by severe weakness and fatigue.”

Most cancer patients don’t die of their cancer. They die with their cancer. According to the article below, half of cancer patients experience cachexia at some point during their cancer experience and this muscle wasting disease causes the death of more than 20% of cancer patients annually.

The real challenge of cachexia in cancer patients is that conventional oncology doesn’t know what causes cachexia- treatments such as chemotherapy or the cancer itself?

My personal belief is that cachexia is caused by inflammation. And inflammation is the result of toxic therapies such as chemotherapy. But that’s my own opinion.

The cancer patient fighting to stave ojf death from his or her cachexia is confronted by a host of evidence-based yet non-toxic therapies such as the one discussed below. Testosterone,antioxidant supplementation,  green tea/curcumin/omega-3 fatty acids and nutrition are but a few of the evidence-based but non-toxic therapies available to cancer patients struggling with muscle wasting.

Have you been diagnosed with cancer? Are you struggling with cachexia? Scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:

Cancer: Can testosterone improve patients’ quality of life?

“Cachexia is a condition characterized by loss of body mass — including muscular atrophy — that is usually accompanied by severe weakness and fatigue. Many people who go through cancer experience this…

Studies have noted that “[a]pproximately half of all patients with cancer experience cachexia,” severely impairing their quality of life. It appears to be “responsible for the death of 22 [percent] of cancer patients.”

The researchers’ findings — now published in the Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle — confirm that administering testosterone to individuals experiencing cachexia can, in fact, improve their quality of life to some extent, by restoring some independence of movement…

We already know that testosterone builds skeletal muscle in healthy individuals,” she says, “so we tried using it in a population at a high risk of muscle loss, so these patients could maintain their strength and performance status to be able to receive standard cancer therapies…”

Dr. Sheffield-Moore and colleagues noticed that the participants who had been given extra testosterone had maintained total body mass and actually increased lean body mass (body mass minus body fat) by 3.2 percent...

A randomized trial of adjunct testosterone for cancer‐related muscle loss in men and women

“Results- A total of 28 patients were enrolled, 22 patients were studied to completion, and 21 patients were included in the final analysis (12 placebo, nine testosterone). Adjunct testosterone increased lean body mass by 3.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 0–7%) whereas those receiving placebo lost 3.3% (95% CI, −7% to 1%, P = 0.015). Although testosterone patients maintained more favourable body condition, sustained daily activity levels, and showed meaningful improvements in quality of life and physical performance, overall survival was similar in both treatment groups.

ConclusionsIn patients with advanced cancer undergoing the early phase of standard of care therapy, adjunct testosterone improved lean body mass and was also associated with increased quality of life, and physical activity compared with placebo.”

Nutritional Interventions for Cancer-induced Cachexia

“Cancer-induced cachexia remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in cancer treatment. Cancer research and development continues at an aggressive pace and yet a degree of cancer-induced cachexia is experienced by up to 80% of advanced stage cancer patients.

Unfortunately, there are no established treatment regimens for this condition. Weight loss and fatigue consistently appear in patient oncologic histories and progress notes. However, few oncologists fully understand the pathologic mechanisms causing cachexia resulting in well-meaning advice to increase caloric intake with minimal results.

Our goal is to describe the pathologic basis of cancer-induced cachexia and to detail accompanying metabolic derangements.

Understanding the causes of cachexia sheds light on the subsequent need for multi-modality therapy including clinical intervention with specialized nutrition support, drug therapy, lifestyle and diet changes.

In addition to nutrition support modalities, practicing oncologists may prescribe medical therapies designed to increase body weight and lean body mass, including megestrol acetate, tetrahydrocannibinol, oxandrolone, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs...

  • Nutrition Support
  • Drug therapy
  • Megestrol Acetate
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Growth Hormone and Anabolic Steroids
  • NSAIDS and TNF-alpha
  • TNF-alpha Inhibotors: Infliximab, Etanercept, Adalimumab
  • Ghrelin and ghrelin agonists
  • Nutrition Intervention for CIC
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found in fish oil and are known for their ability to reduce inflammation in the human body. Omega-3 fatty acids as a nutritional intervention for cancer remains an area of intense interest particularly as it relates to the potential to improve response to cytotoxic treatments and reduce associated side effects, particularly muscle wasting. EPA and DHA are well recognized for anti-inflammatory properties, and these actions, together with EPA’s ability to block ubiquitin-proteosome induced muscle proteolysis, probably account for EPA’s favorable effect on wasting syndromes.

  • Amino Acid Loading
  • Micronutrients
  • Curcumin
  • Resveratrol
  • Pomegranate






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