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Prostate cancer: Dr Philippa Kaye discusses symptoms

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Some signs concerning appetite changes may be due to a number of other conditions, though Cancer Research UK advises that you always go to see your GP if you are concerned about symptoms or changes to your body. It says: “You should contact your doctor if you notice a change that isn’t normal for you or if you have any possible signs and symptoms of cancer.”

The organisation says: “Your worry is unlikely to go away if you don’t make an appointment. The symptom might not be due to cancer. But if it is, the earlier it’s picked up the higher the chance of successful treatment. You won’t be wasting your doctor’s time.”

Cancer Research UK says symptoms that affect eating can be signs of cancer. These can include difficulty swallowing. The charity says some medical conditions can make it difficult to swallow.

It advises: “Talk to your doctor if you are having difficulty swallowing and the problem doesn’t go away.”

The charity also says: “It is normal to feel slight discomfort or pain sometimes after eating a large, fatty or spicy meal.”

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It adds: “But if you have heartburn, acid reflux, or indigestion a lot, or if it is particularly painful, nortriptyline high blood sugar then you should see your doctor.”

The charity says: “Appetite loss can happen for many different reasons. Speak to your doctor if you’ve noticed you’re not as hungry as usual and it’s not getting any better.”

Macmillan says: “People with cancer may have different dietary needs. Some people feel well and able to eat normally.

“For others, weight loss or a poor appetite were symptoms that led to their diagnosis. If you had eating problems before you were diagnosed, you may need support to improve your diet. Speak to your doctor or dietitian before you start treatment.”

NHS Inform says: “Eating problems can be caused by some cancer treatments. These can be temporary but sometimes last longer.

“If you have treatment to your mouth, throat, stomach or intestine, it will take time to return to a regular eating pattern.

“Treatment such as radiotherapy to the head and neck area may cause a dry mouth and difficulty swallowing.

“Chemotherapy and targeted therapies can cause sickness, diarrhoea or constipation, taste changes and soreness to your mouth.”

The organisation says: “You could also be at risk of infection after cancer treatment and your doctor may suggest avoiding foods with harmful bacteria.

“Ask your doctor or specialist nurse for advice about how you can cope with eating problems.

“Your doctor or nurse can refer you to a dietician who will assess your food needs and advise you on which foods are best for you.”

Cancer Research says problems with eating and nutrition can cause a lot of distress and anxiety.

The Cancer Council says: “A loss of appetite often leads to weight loss and malnutrition.

“Eating is important to help you maintain your strength, function and quality of life.

“However, it’s not necessary to force yourself to eat; this may only make you feel uncomfortable and cause vomiting and stomach pain.”

It adds people with advanced cancer may develop a muscle-wasting syndrome known as cachexia. This means the body isn’t using protein, carbohydrates and fats properly.

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