Cancer cachexia describes progressive weight loss, anorexia, and persistent erosion of body mass in a cancer patient with advanced cancer.
There’s a term for it – a syndrome called CACS, or cancer anorexia cachexia syndrome.
It’s a hard thing to see, especially if it’s your loved one going through it. I watched my mother go from a lovely, normal weight to a person whose limbs were so thin she almost looked like a concentration camp survivor. It made me want to cry.
More than 80% of cancer patients with advanced cancer develop cachexia, especially those with solid tumors, and it can become more pronounced as the cancer progresses.
Why CACS Occurs
Doctors used to believe that cancer increased your metabolic demand and weakened your appetite, and that’s what resulted in the malnutrition and muscle wasting. However, new research shows there’s a bit more to it than that.
Apparently the tumor actually alters your metabolism from being anabolic (where you are continually building muscle) to catabolic (where muscles are broken down to feed the tumor). Cancer appears to raise your resting metabolic rate, and general nutrition does not help that.
The latest research indicates that cachexia results from a variety of tumor products, cytokines (a class of immunoregulatory proteins secreted by immune cells) and immune factors.
Basically, what’s happening is that the cancer patient ends up with a deficit of energy and their body has to use their muscles, fat and internal organs for that energy. When you add in the side effects of cancer treatments, it is easy to understand why your loved one looks absolutely malnourished.
Nutritional Advice for CACS
Dr Mercola (mercola.com), one of my trusted sources, recommends a high quality Antarctic krill oil to battle CACS. It’s a great source of omega 3 fats and safer. Because of the fact that our fish are now so contaminated with mercury, PCBs and metals, he no longer recommends fish oils. Dr Mercola says krill oil is 48 times more potent than fish oil.
In addition, you want and need to optimize your vitamin D levels. Dr Mercola offers a free one-hour lecture on video about how to do that (click the hyperlink to access the video).
You’ll need to avoid grains, sugar, processed foods (if it comes in a box or a can, avoid it), chemicals and artificial sweeteners. See my post this week on why you should avoid sugar.
Get some organic coconut oil into your diet every single day, it will help with your battle against CACS.
Get busy juicing (see my article on juicing). This part is important! When I began juicing for my mother, she got out of bed and baked a cake for my husband (he’d just cleaned off her patio)!
Avoid alcohol, drink plenty of filtered water and get some exercise. If you don’t feel like it or don’t have much energy, do as much as you can do and just increase it by a minute or two each day.
If you want more information, below are some studies which indicate high-dose omega 3 oils are helpful for CACS patients.
As usual, a big thank-you to Dr Joseph Mercola who provides us with so much high quality free information. Love that guy! You can also buy the krill oil from his on-line shop.
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