Rapid Weight Loss & Cancer

Rapid weight loss may be a sign of cancer.

Cancer comes in many forms and can attack almost any part of your body. Knowing the signs and risks can lead to early detection and allow for more successful treatment options. One of the first signs of cancer is rapid weight loss. Cancer cells rob your body of nutrients, causing weight loss, poor nutrition and a general decline in health.

Warning Signs of Cancer

Depending on the type of cancer, the warning signs may vary. However, according to Merck Manuals, the general warning signs consist of pain, unexplained bleeding, weight loss and fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, depression and respiratory symptoms. Symptoms may be mild at first and become more severe as the cancer progresses. If you notice any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. If cancer is discovered, early treatment in the initial stages gives you a much better chance of a favorable outcome.


Causes of Rapid Weight Loss

Losing weight unintentionally may be considered a good thing to some people; however, rapid weight loss without trying may be a sign of a serious health problem. According to Mayo Clinic, if you lose up 10 percent of your weight within a six month period you need to see your doctor. An unintentional loss of weight may be caused by many conditions, such as thyroid disease, depression, liver problems, cancer, or malabsorption disorders. Your doctor can evaluate your weight loss and find the cause and recommend the proper treatment.

Pancreatic Cancer

Weight loss is a hallmark of pancreatic cancer. According to Pancreatica.org, a website devoted to pancreatic cancer, the function of the pancreas is producing enzymes that aid in digestion of food and secretion of hormones that regulate body sugar levels. Along with weight loss, the most common symptoms of pancreatic cancer are loss-of-appetite, abdominal pain and nausea. In addition, common physical signs of cancer of the pancreas are jaundice, and possibly, itching.


Metastatic Cancer

Metastatic cancer is the term given a cancer that has spread from one part of the body to another. According to Cancer Supportive Care Programs, nearly all cancers have the ability to spread. The chance of a cancer metastasizing depends on many factors including the interaction of tumor cell factors, type of cancer, and the length of time the cancer has been present along with other factors that are not understood. Whether the cancer spreads or not, weight loss and other symptoms may be present. The best way to combat cancer is early detection and treatment .