Often, people assume that a cancer diagnosis means an individual should keep more weight on. This is because unexplained weight loss is one of the first noticeable signs of the disease in certain situations and can be a symptom of cancers in the esophagus, kidney, pancreas, stomach, and lung.
While it is true that gaining weight can be beneficial for some cancer patients, as rapid weight loss can significantly weaken the body, the same cannot be said for a breast cancer diagnosis. For those with breast cancer, especially male patients, shedding extra pounds and maintaining a healthy weight is ideal for a number of reasons.
How weight loss is beneficial amid a breast cancer diagnosis
Generally, obesity is considered to be a major reason for the development of breast cancer in men. Having an unhealthy amount of excess weight in men can increase their estrogen levels. Similar to women, the Breast Cancer Organization cites that high estrogen levels in men can also trigger breast cancer. This is because estrogen stimulates the growth of breast tissue, which can also prompt the growth of cancer-inducing mutations in the body.
In line with this, losing weight can be beneficial since it can reduce the risk of having high estrogen levels that lead to breast cancer. Additionally, being at a healthy weight decreases inflammation in the body, a condition that creates more fat cells in the tissues that fuel the development of cancer cells. While it can be daunting to think about weight loss amid a breast cancer diagnosis, it is not impossible as long as you approach the process safely and with a doctor's supervision to prevent exacerbating any other health complications.
Ways to safely lose weight
Find the right diet plan
Good nutrition is key to weight loss, and it can also build up your strength to help you withstand the effects of the disease. That said, it can be difficult to find the right diet plan since cancer and its treatment can change the way you eat and affect the way your body tolerates certain foods. One way to address this is by looking for a healthy weight loss program that can consider the changes your body is going through. When choosing a diet plan for weight loss, it’s important to find one that is flexible enough to accommodate the complicated effects cancer and treatment have on your relationship with food.
This means pointing you towards eating nutritious food with the right portion sizes to fill you up properly without being unhealthy or excessive. Additionally, a healthy weight loss plan strives for a holistic approach to nutrition and isn’t completely focused on weight loss alone. You need a program that can recommend healthy lifestyle habits that can ensure weight loss is sustainable and tailored to your unique needs.
Be physically active
Contrary to popular belief, cancer patients can still remain active amid their diagnosis, and exercise is highly encouraged. Being physically active greatly helps with weight loss since it increases the number of calories your body uses up for energy and burns away excess fat.
In line with this, Johns Hopkins Medicine recommends 150 minutes of weekly exercise for breast cancer patients. This includes activities like walking, running, rowing, bike riding, and swimming to strengthen heart health and help maintain a healthy weight. Furthermore, doing aerobic exercise programs while treating breast cancer is a great way to get moving while reducing some side effects of the disease like fatigue and muscle weakness while improving the overall quality of life for patients.
Regularly consult with a doctor
Above all, it’s important to regularly consult with a doctor when undergoing weight loss amid a breast cancer diagnosis. The effects of the disease and treatment can be unpredictable, so it’s important to consult closely with your healthcare team to know if your current diet or exercise plan is working effectively for weight loss without putting a strain on your health. In many cases, oncologists can work alongside dieticians and even fitness trainers in order to tailor a patient-specific approach.
Conclusion Breast cancer is a complex disease that significantly affects your health and physique. While it makes weight loss a more challenging endeavor, it is possible to do so safely amid a diagnosis. As long as you keep in mind the importance of building healthy habits and approaching weight loss holistically, you can meet your goals in no time and support your battle against the disease. For more discussions and tips for men's breast cancer, please visit our blog here.
Editor; Jenny Jones