Weight gain during breast cancer treatment is often minimized by physicians and caregivers. What are some extra pounds in the face of cancer?
Yet it is very real and this suffering is added to what you already get from the disease and its treatments. Women, already confronted with loss of hair, eyelashes, nails, fatigue, nausea … must in addition all too often face the extra burden of more pounds, and it is so difficult to bear. And these pounds tend to settle down, long after care is over.
On the other hand, it is known that patients with a high body mass index (BMI) have an increased risk of breast cancer and that overweightness and obesity are associated with poorer prognosis. On average, women take between 2 and 4 kg during the treatment, but some have a much higher weight gain and others do not grow fat at all. Unfortunately we are not all equal regarding the kilos.
But why do we gain?
Anxiety and even depression lead to a change in our eating habits. As we know, eating sometimes gives the impression of being able to better manage the stress.
In the same way, the forced immobility due to stopping work and the physical inactivity are not favorable to the maintenance of a correct weight. Stay at home, turn around and then nibbling makes its appearance much more than when we were stuck at an office.
Treatments by themselves, chemotherapy and hormone therapy can make you gain weight. These are recognized side effects of the products. For hormone therapy, it seems that it is more frequent under tamoxifen.
Cortisone, often administered to compensate for the nausea induced by certain chemo, is also responsible for a few kilos.
Finally menopause which can occur after chemotherapy or hormone therapy can make gain weight.
So what to do?
Unfortunately no miracle can happen without a little effort. If during heavy treatments it is difficult to imagine dieting, it is possible, and even advisable to control your weight, once medical care has been completed.
It is said to women in full treatment: please, enduring the side effects is quite hard enough not to impose additional constraints: one is made sufficient violence for in addition, to have to deprive oneself. This advice is binding only to some women and some doctors advocate monitoring your weight from the start.
On the other hand, after, and even under hormone therapy, it is possible to try to lose weight, but without falling into excesses. Indeed, no question of using a hyper protein diet, like the Ducan diet, or a dissociated diet. Healthy eating, consuming fruits and vegetables, lowering intake of sugars and fats, avoiding snacking between meals, seem to me to be basic principles and easier to put into practice.
Ideally, if you can, and if you have difficulty in reasoning, it is best to consult a nutritionist who will help to evaluate the flaws in our diet and explain how to prepare perfectly balanced meals. There are even consultations in some hospitals. But in all cases one should not be too hasty: the body has been subjected to a severe test, our psychological state is not necessarily at the top immediately after treatment, and life does not immediately become the one it used to be before. To allow time, to take care of oneself are an integral part of the process of regaining our body which we lacked.
Of course, it is necessary to start some sport again, because as we all know, activity helps to regulate our weight. It is even recommended to do it during the treatment, but it is not always easy, but some patients are actively doing some sport.
There is no question of running a marathon or getting on with weightlifting; On the other hand, yoga, qi qong, walking … are easily accessible once a normal life is resumed. The fear of lymphedema should not be an obstacle to this resumption of physical activity.
You just have to be reasonable and do not put your arm to too much effort. If there is a feeling of pain, heaviness, simple embarrassment, you have to stop right away and change to something more in tune with your current fitness and strength level.
Of course we all know how difficult it is to diet. In the same way there are often a lot of excuses for not doing sports. To take your time, to be helped, not to hesitate to consider the weight loss as a treatment in its own right are ways to spare both your health and your psychological balance.