Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Anorexia

Many patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia will suffer from anorexia.

Anorexia means loss of appetite. Anorexia is often a problem with leukemia, because it can affect the body's hormones, digestive system and brain. It is also a common side effect of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Good nutrition is an important part of successful cancer treatment. Adequate nutrition can boost the immune system and help increase the effectiveness of cancer therapy.

Home care for anorexia includes:

  • Avoid stomach irritants such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
  • Avoid excessive caffeine and other stimulants.
  • Check with your doctor about drinking alcohol.
  • Do not force yourself to eat at standard times. Eat when you are hungry instead.
  • Concentrate on eating a healthy diet. Avoid junk foods.
  • Select healthy, high-calorie foods that you enjoy.
  • Eat more frequent, smaller meals.
  • Get some exercise every day.
  • Keep a daily log of your weight.
  • Don't smoke. Nicotine can suppress the appetite.
  • Ask your doctor or nutritionist about dietary supplements.
  • Ask your doctor if any medications you may be taking can cause anorexia.
  • Take any prescribed medications as directed.
  • Anti-nausea medications:
  • Appetite stimulants:

Continue to Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Diet

Last Updated: Nov 9, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia References
  1. Alderton LE, Spector LG, et al. Child and maternal household chemical exposure and the risk of acute leukemia in children with Down's syndrome: a report from the Children's Oncology Group. Am J Epidemiol. 2006 Aug 1;164(3):212-21. [16760223]
  2. Fulcher JW, Allred TJ, et al. Granular acute lymphoblastic leukemia in adults: report of a case and review of the literature. South Med J. 2006 Aug;99(8):894-7. [16929890]
  3. Haferlach T, Kern W, Schnittger S, Schoch C. Modern diagnostics in acute leukemias. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2005 Nov;56(2):223-34. [16213152]
  4. Pui CH, Pei D, Sandlund JT, et al. Risk of adverse events after completion of therapy for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. J Clin Oncol. 2005 Nov 1;23(31):7936-41. [16258093]
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