Chemotherapy - weight loss or weight gain?

Dear All,
Your advice please. I start chemo next week, I have the padded bra ready to wear, the wig is on the dresser, bought the eyebrow stencils and pencils, false eyelashes, already wearing dark nail polish… will buy the fake tan soon…
My big unknown is does chemo cause weight loss or weight gain? Really confused, I read posts about nausia, loss of appetite etc… then posts about weight gain?
Please advise, it seems like one blow after another.

I think weight loss can be experienced by those who suffer from nausea or changes in how things taste - however, they give us such good anti-sickness drugs now, most of us are able to eat normally throughout and in fact have an increased appetite due to the steroids we take alongside the chemo…

It is also harder to exercise as you tend to be up and down mood- and energy-wise.

I’ve put about half a stone on thoughout the chemo. It can be controlled through diet, but when you are feeling a bit sorry for yourself you tend to give yourself more treats. Or is that just me?

Good luck with it Osc xxx


when I wentto the young womans forum thing they said average weight gain is something like 3-8lbs during chemo. Personally I’ve found I crave carbs during chemo and for part of the time I go off sweet things. Thankfully I’ve not put any weight on however I do fluctuate throughout each cycle by about 3lbs. I’m lucky in that I don’t have to work or have any kids to look after so I can any exercise when I feel like it and sometimes the only thing I will achieve in a day is having done an hour or so of exercise. Granted in the first week I do nothing though.

You have to eat what you want/fancy though. Plus I see whatever you put on can be lost afterwards anyway, you have enough on your plate as it is.

Em x

Dear Oscar Bailey
When I first went through chemo- Epi/CMF I lost a stone. I was overweight to start off with and although not sick throughout the treatment went off certain foods because of taste changes. I think it depends on whether you have to take steroids as well as this can increase your appetite.

Hope your treatment goes well for you.

Jennie xx

Hi…just wanted to add that I seem to be one of the rare few that lost weight during chemo. I was really worried at the time because the rest of the girls on my thread were piling the weight on and I was paranoid that my chemo wasnt working.

Well it did work. It just made me very nauseaous and sick and I was unable to eat much the first 10 days after having it…hence the weight dropping off. I think alot depends on the type of chemo you have and of course how you react to it.

I finished chemo on 14th Nov and have enjoyed putting all the weight back on !!

Best wishes Sal xx

i had epi-cmf and my weight stayed the same on epi but went up by hakf a stone on the cmf and another half stone since i finished… think this recent gain maybe related to restarting tamoxifen though.

when your going through chemo i dont think you should worry too much about your weight just concentrate on trying to get through it… eat and drink things you enjoy as you might find things you used to love tastes horrible and things you never liked before you now have a craving for.


Hi, I think we are all different.

I was weighed last week for a new chemo regime and my weight was down by 1.5kg since last July. That was after having Taxol from July to November.

The steroids can give you the munchies but I found that my taste went at a similar time so I was eating because I knew it made sense to eat regularly if possible rather than having cravings.

I’m not a regular exerciser, just a mum with two primary age children to care for. I wasn’t as energetic during chemo and so didn’t do as much as I would have normally done, although it all seems to have balanced out in the end.

My personal opinion is that you need to do what feels good for you. Try not to worry too much about weight, in the grand scheme of things it can be dealt with later if necessary. Far more important to keep yourself as healthy, fuelled and energised as possible to deal with the chemo!

Good luck.
Bad Fairy x


I had epi 2 years ago and lost nearly a stone! I didn’t suffer unduly from nausea as the meds saw to that, but did suffer from the awful taste, sore mouth etc. Couldn’t eat anything that tasted OK except lemon or tomato based foods.

I’ve put it all back on femara though.

Hope it goes well for you.
Mal x

I snacked and stuffed whilst i felt sorry for myself so i put on 2st during chemo! Half a stone went as soon as i stopped chemo so must have been water. Ive now got rid of the rest and some more.

kinda got to wait and see how it goes?

good luck


Many thanks for all your posts… I guess its like everything else, wait and see! I have put on so much weight since surgery that I dont think that I can afford (physically) to put on any more.
My only cheat so far is to buy ice lolly molds and use no sugar lemon squash, and hope that I dont get carb cravings!

I have lost about 1 stone mainly cause I have had oral thrush for the past 7 months and nothing but nothing is shifting it - I’ve worked my way around the pharmacy believe me.

This means that not only do I have the awful taste in my mouth it is actually sore to eat and swallow, the nurses at the hospital reckon that most people put on some weight - probably the lack of activity and in this weather who would argue with some comfort eating !

My GP has always recommended walking to keep me moving, minimise the muscle wastage and also keep the weight down.

Good luck xx

I lost 1 and half stone during chemo, mainly because my tastebuds changed and I found it difficult to eat much. Also I had bad mouth ulcers for 1 week out of each 3 week cycle which made it too painful to eat in spite of the meds given by the hospital. Hospital gave me nutition drinks to take which helped me during those weeks to keep my energy level up. Steriods make some people hyper and/or hungry. I found they made my mind race at night and made it difficult to sleep. Good Luck with the chemo, it is doable and the time passes quicker than you think. The nurses at the chemo unit are fantastic and so are the other patients and their families you will meet there.
It is a much more cheerful place than I ever imagined it could be.