Symptoms - Loss of Appetite

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: February 2018

One of the general symptoms that some people with blood cancer may experience is loss of appetite. Loss of appetite can mean having little or no interest in food, rejecting even favorite foods, or quickly becoming full after only eating a small amount. If loss of appetite persists, it can lead to weight loss, as a person consumes less calories than usual, and the body may lose muscle mass and strength due to poor nutrition.1,2

What causes the loss of appetite with blood cancer?

Changes in the body

Some cancer cells may produce substances that change the way the body creates energy from food that is eaten (metabolism) and these toxins may make a person have a lack of appetite. Some blood cancers also cause the spleen to become enlarged, and an enlarged spleen can press on the stomach, making a person feel full.2

Blood cancer treatment side effects

Loss of appetite can also be a side effect of blood cancer treatments, like chemotherapy. Chemotherapy may cause nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, dry mouth, or changes in how foods taste or smell, all of which can lead to a loss of appetite.2


In addition, some people undergoing treatment for blood cancer may experience depression. Depression can also suppress the appetite.2

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