Loss of muscle = weight loss—and it kills one-fourth of cancer patients.

The reason that cancer causes weight loss is not what you’re probably be thinking.

Tumors release substances into the bloodstream that impede the natural repair of damaged muscle fibers, leading to muscle loss (weight loss).

The condition is also known as cancer cachexia. Often, laypeople attribute the wasting-away of a cancer patient’s body to chemotherapy and/or avoidance of food due to poor appetite.

But the cancer-caused weight loss, for which no treatment exists, actually causes 25 percent of cancer deaths.

This information comes from research by the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center — Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and the Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

The full report is in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (Oct. 2013).

Detailed Explanation:
Why Cancer Causes Weight Loss

Muscle stem cells are important for repairing damaged fibers. The stem cells normally multiply and develop into mature muscle cells, which fuse with damaged fibers so that wasting does not occur.

Cancer blocks this process by releasing “factors.” Researchers are trying to identify these factors.

Fast Forward Four Years
Scientists are on the cusp of developing a treatment for the deadly weight loss that cancer causes.

Read more about it—in plain English.

Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.