Part of leading a healthy lifestyle is striving to maintain a healthy weight. Many studies have shown that being overweight or obese is associated with increasing the risk of cancers of the kidney, thyroid gland, gall bladder, esophagus, pancreas, colon, rectum, breast (after menopause), and uterus. Increased weight may also be associated with a higher risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and aggressive prostate cancer.
A healthy weight is usually measured using the body mass index (BMI) which is calculated by taking a person’s weight (in kilograms) and dividing it by their height (in metres), squared (m2). You can discuss your BMI with your healthcare team and they can help you gauge at whether you are in the healthy range, or in the overweight range or obese range.
To reach or maintain a healthy weight, one must reduce food consumption and increase physical activity. You can reduce your food consumption by reducing your daily caloric intake. Try decreasing your portion size at every meal and limiting the number of snacks you eat throughout the day. Choose foods that are low in fats and added sugars and are rich in nutrients such as fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Try to incorporate a good amount of vigorous or moderately intense physical activity throughout the week as well to help burn off the calories you do consume.
It is also possible to be underweight after your lymphoma treatment. There are people who have lost the desire to eat which has resulted in weight loss. It is important to regain to a healthy weight by doing strength-building exercises and recover your appetite. Try beginning with small meals spread throughout the day (eg, five meals a day), focusing on your favourite foods, and working up an appetite by staying active.
Kushi LH, Doyle C, McCullough M, et al. American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention
Ca Cancer J Clin. 2012;62:30–67