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Cancer blog: Drug May Prevent Weight Loss In Cancer

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Nov 23, 2005

Drug May Prevent Weight Loss In Cancer

Drug May Prevent Weight Loss In Cancer
Megesterol acetate (Megace) is an old hormonal drug that was previously used for the treatment of breast cancer. Megace is a synthetic form of the female hormone progesterone. One major problem in the treatment with Megace was unwanted weight gain in women who was taking the drug. With the development of more specific hormonal drugs like Tamoxifen and Arimidex Megace has fallen out of favor for the treatment of breast cancer.

Now there is a new use for this old drug: A recent study has demonstrated that Megace may combat the severe weight loss that can affect patients undergoing radiation treatment for cancer.

Weight loss can be a problem in patients undergoing radiation treatment for various types of cancers including lung cancer and cancers of the head and neck area. The high doses of radiation used to treat these cancers can cause decreased appetite and weight loss, nausea and painful swallowing. These patients typically receive radiation alone or a combination of radiation and chemotherapy, which can worsen the side effects of treatment, particularly nausea.

Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center who carried out a new study on this topic demonstrated that weight loss is a significant predictor of how well patients fare. Those who can eat adequate amounts and prevent weight loss often have a better chance of survival.

"The drug clearly reduced weight loss and improved quality of life in study patients," says Dr Michael Farmer, one of the study investigators. However, Dr Farmer also said: "While we know that weight loss is associated with a poorer outcome, we don't know for certain that preventing weight loss will improve survival."

Janet      Return to Cancer Blog Main


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Janet      


Cancer
We do not know the exact cause of many cancers. Many cancers like leukemia have no apparent cause. Some other types of cancers like lung cancers have identifiable causes like smoking in most cases. Lung cancer can occur in those who have never smoked in their life. It is hard to know in these cases what is causing that patients lung cancer. Factors that increase the risk of development of cancer is known as risk factors for cancer. These risk factors may be modifiable like smoking where a person can exert control or un-modifiable factors like age and gender. Smoking can cause cancers of the lungs, mouth, throat, bladder, kidneys and several other organs.

Cancer blog: Drug May Prevent Weight Loss In Cancer

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