Excessive weight loss during cancer is not normal

SINGAPORE - Cancer patients tend to lose a lot weight during treatment, and think this is normal.

But it is not, and the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) is trying to do something about it.

Together with healthcare group Abbott, the society has compiled a booklet of tips on how to eat well during cancer, which will be distributed to all newly-diagnosed patients.

It will also be conducting cooking classes and diet-related workshops at its new rehabilitation centre in September, when the centre opens at Jurong's Jem mall.

The society commissioned a survey of around 250 cancer patients, two-thirds of whom said they lost weight during treatment.

Four in 10 said they faced dietary issues such as lack of appetite and changed taste preferences.

Losing more than 5 per cent of one's body weight is dangerous as it reduces a person's ability to fight cancer, said Associate Professor Koo Wen Hsin of the National Cancer Centre Singapore.

"Cancer treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy work better when the patient is well-nourished," he noted.