Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Leukemia Anorexia

Many patients with leukemia will suffer from anorexia. Anorexia, or loss of appetite, is a common side effect of cancer, 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 Leukemia Diet

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Leukemia References
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  3. 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]
  4. Gupta V, Tabak D, Keating A. Acute promyelocytic leukemia: a case-based review. Hematology. 2003 Apr;8(2):105-13. [12745660]
  5. Haferlach T, Kern W, Schnittger S, Schoch C. Modern diagnostics in acute leukemias. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2005 Nov;56(2):223-34.[16213152]
  6. Leopold LH, Willemze R. The treatment of acute myeloid leukemia in first relapse: a comprehensive review of the literature. Leuk Lymphoma. 2002 Sep;43(9):1715-27. [12685823]
  7. 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]
  8. Redaelli A, Botteman MF, Stephens JM, Brandt S, Pashos CL. Economic burden of acute myeloid leukemia: a literature review. Cancer Treat Rev. 2004 May;30(3):237-47. [15059647]
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