Promoting Weight Maintenance with Patients Going Through Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer Treatment

Background - Working in a cancer center all semester I have been surrounded by patients whose weight is affected by different chemotherapies. Patients with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy often have difficulty maintaining their weight. Evidence supports interventions to assist these patients to maintain their weight. Objective- To conduct a literature search on the topic and provide education to the nursing staff to assist their patients overcome this problem. Methods- A literature search using electronic databases CINAHL and PubMed resulted in 5 scholarly sources. The search further explored the best food choices for patients undergoing chemotherapy to maintain the patients' weight. Results- Based on the research conducted it was concluded that it is most common for women with breast cancer to see weight gain when they are receiving chemotherapy. The cause of the weight gained varied with different research studies. Some studies suggested it was side effects of chemotherapy, menopausal status, and BMI prior to treatment. Food options were identified to help maintain their weight. Implications- This evidence will be presented to the nursing staff at a cancer center caring for these patients. The results have helped gain insight into the cause of weight gain and this can help in future practice to try to best care and accommodate the patient as well as what diet to suggest to help prevent and maintain weight changes.