Weight loss (symptom of pancreatic cancer)

Pancreatic Cancer Action
Patient Information Booklets

Control the symptoms of pancreatic cancer

This booklet covers the different procedures used to control pancreatic cancer symptoms with practical information about your hospital visit and returning home. Includes a section about second opinions, clinical trials and questions to ask your doctor and a glossary to explain some of the terms used.

Weight loss in pancreatic cancer patients varies from slight to extreme.

Weight loss can be caused by pain, treatments such as chemotherapy, fatigue, loss of appetite, the effects of the tumour or the emotional difficulty of dealing with the disease. Losing a lot of weight can affect how you feel about yourself and your quality of life.

There are ways to treat weight loss and stop it from becoming serious. Your medical team can assess your risk of becoming malnourished due to weight loss. Oral nutritional supplements can be helpful when you don’t really feel like eating. They may be recommended by your dietitian or prescribed by your doctor. They come in many forms to suit your taste.

  • Nutritional drinks – juices, milkshakes and high energy shots
  • Powders – to add to milk and cream. Powdered protein soups
  • Nourishing puddings – useful for people struggling to swallow

Dealing with weight loss can be difficult and can make meal times stressful. You may also feel as though there is extra pressure from friends and family to eat.