Some General Symptoms of Tumours


Weight loss & Cachexia


Among the main symptoms of cancer is unexpected loss of weight. This weight loss is mostly as a result of the treatment that is administered to deal with the disease. During the routine of treatment for cancer, the reduction in body weight often reduces the effectiveness of medication. This could significantly affect the quality of life for patients thus reducing their survival rate. Body weakness is yet another side effect that further reduces the body’s ability to withstand the intense treatment that is administered.

Many people have attributed this kind of weight loss to stress and they consider it to be a temporary situation however, if the condition persists, it could end up being life threatening. In most cases, the loss of weight is as a result of an increased demand for calories within the body therefore patients are advised to increase their energy levels by adding the amount of calories in their diet.

When body weight reduces, bodily functions are greatly affected and could lead to adverse effects and even in some cases death. The main reason why most cancer patients lose a lot of weight is because of lack of appetite caused by the treatment which may include radiation, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and biological therapy. Other conditions psychological conditions such as depression could also make the situation worse.

A tumor is an abnormal growth inside our body.  Not all tumors results in cancer. In general, tumors occur when cells divide excessively in the body.  Tumors have their own life form.  They grow inside our body and sometimes release chemicals that increase the body’s metabolism, which can lead to sudden weight loss. Metabolism is the amount of energy (calories) that our body is constantly burning calories to keep us active.

Patients suffering from anorexia is a kind of a condition which is frequently observed in cancer patients characterized by a loss of appetite or show no eagerness to eat.  The patients consume less food resulting to have inadequate calories.  When enough calories are not consumed, the body first breaks down its own fat and uses it for calories.  When fat stores are used up, the body may break down its other tissues, such as muscle and tissues in internal organs, which leads to serious problems, including death.


Cachexia is most common in patients with pancreatic and gastric cancer.  It is observed that almost 85% of patients suffering from pancreatic and gastric cancer experience Cachexia.  The symptoms are characterized as decreased appetite, fatigue and poor performance status.  Cachexia can also affect people who consume enough food, but cannot absorb enough nutrients due to the disease complications.  Cachexia is connected with mechanical factors, psychological factors, changes in taste and cytokines. One can say that Cachexia and Anorexia is almost the same kind, but it is not. Anorexia  is a loss of desire to eat, resulting in weight loss, whereas Cachexia is a serious illness in cancer patients, that may sometimes result in deaths from cancer.

Cachexia is a form of weight loss that is common among people who are suffering from cancer. It is a serious condition that causes affected individuals to get fatigues and lose a significant amount of weight. Research has also shown that Cachexia could be caused by tumors within the body; however, this may not always be cause of the condition because there are certain patients with large tumors who do not suffer from the condition. Cachexia may also be present in individuals who have a normal intake of food but are unable to absorb the right amount of nutrients usually as a result of illness. It is usually assumed that Cachexia and anorexia is one and the same thing however, this is not true. Anorexia is basically the reduced desire to consume food, resulting in loss of weight on the other hand Cachexia is a major illness that appears in many cancer patients sometimes resulting in death.



 Nausea and vomiting are often related with other the signs and symptoms. They are identified as two separate and different conditions.  Nausea is a kind of discomfort in the stomach with a push for vomit, but may or may not result in vomiting. Vomiting is the forceful throw-out of the contents in the stomach and intestines through the mouth.   Most of the time, nausea is not life-threatening.  But prolonged nausea with repeated vomiting may lead to dehydration.

Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting are among the most feared consequences of cancer treatment. More than 50% of the patients being treated for cancer, experience nausea and vomiting during their treatment even though anti medication for nausea and vomiting are used .  Some cancer patients experience due to the progression of their disease, or when they are exposed to other therapies that are used to treat the cancer.

It is noted that not all patients who are diagnosed with cancer will experience nausea and vomiting.  It remains as the most distressing and feared side effects to cancer patients and their families. Nausea and vomiting can also be dangerous for health leading to a variety of complication if it is not controlled in patient with cancer. Psychological problems associated with nausea and vomiting may result in anxiety and depression.  In most cases, these side effects can be controlled with the combination of medications, such as antiemetics, to help control nausea or stop vomiting before or after chemotherapy.



 Jaundice, which is also referred as Sceral Icterus, is not a kind of disease but it occurs due to many different diseases. Jaundice effects your skin and the whites of your eyes to turn yellow.  The yellow pigment which is seen is from bilirubin, a byproduct of old red blood cells Bilirubin is a yellow chemical in hemoglobin, the substance that carries oxygen in your red blood cells.  The red blood cells retire from our body everyday.  As the red blood cells break down, the body builds new cells to replace them.  The old ones are processed by the liver.  If liver cannot handle the blood cells as they break down, bilirubin builds up in the body.  When the biilrubin level in slightly high, the skin may look yellow, when the level is very high they change to be brown in color.  The normal total level of bilirubin in blood serum is between 0.2 mg/dL and 1.2 mg/dL.  When it rises to 3mg/dL or higher, the person’s skin and whites of the eyes changes into yellow.

Jaundice can happen at any age, and it may be a sign of a problem. Jaundice may result from various diseases or conditions that affect the liver.  It can happen for many reasons, such as blood diseases, genetic syndromes, liver disease, infections and sometimes through medication.  It also occurs when the liver is not working properly or when a bile duct is blocked.


Pruritus is a common unpleasant sensation, accompanied frequently by scratching It is a kind of a tingling or irritation of the skin that makes you want to scratch the affected area to obtain relief.  It can occur all over the whole body or only in one particular location.  Pruritus can cause discomfort and frustration.  Severe cases of pruritus can lead to depression, anxiety and disturbed sleep.  Constant scratching may cause breaks in the skill which results in infection.

This symptom can be caused for a person with various contagious diseases and by internal disorders.  Diseases like AIDS, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other lymphomas, leukemias, adenocarcinomas and cancer of the stomach, pancreas, lung, colon, brain breast and prostate. In cancer related cases, when cancer is cured or in remission, pruritus tend to disappear.  When disease recurs, pruritus may re-appear.

Patients who are on radiation therapy, can kill skin cells and cause burning and itching.  During the therapy when the skin peels off, scratching can damage it further, which may results in infection. Treatment need to be interrupted to allow the skin to heal.Cancer patients who are on chemotherapy treatment, tends to have the itching sensation. This is specially due to the sensitive of the chemotherapy drug. Normally in this case the itching subsides within 30-90 minutes and does not require treatment.