Discussions By Condition: Cancer

Cancer Wasting Syndrome?

Posted In: Cancer 6 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • March 21, 2007
  • 04:31 AM

I have now posted this message two times on the website having failed to note there is a specific board for cancer related issues. If anyone here might be familiar with cancer cachexia, I would GREATLY appreciate your input.

I am a 24 year old male who, until last year, was totally healthy. Last November I got mononucleosis which lasted 3 weeks. During the time I had mono, I noticed my body mass was significantly decreasing (as my clothing was starting to get too large) however my weight on a scale was the same as always. After recovering from the infection, my "visable" weight returned to normal. Also after the infection, however, a hard lump appeared on my jawbone, below one of my back molars.

The lump has gotten larger and the adjacent bone is now expanded as well. There is no tooth infection causing the swelling, there is no pain, there is no sensitivity, etc. X-rays and CT scans show nothing. I finally pushed an oral surgeon to perform a biopsy early February, and afterwords the "tumor" area got slightly larger, and I started to waste away. The biopsy came back as non-malignant (normal bone).

By my own account, now in late March, I have lost some 20+ pounds of fat/muscle/both, yet the scale has not changed at all. I am a tall, relatively thin person so the doctors are at a total loss as to where this weight is going. Obviously if I had a giant mass sticking out of my abdomen or swollen ankles it might explain the issue, but I don't. My entire body is thinning to the point where bones are sticking out and depressions are now clearly visable. My hands and feet pratically look like those of a skeleton and feel that way as well in light of the loss of muscle/fat.

All of my blood work is normal, showing no irregularities. I am HIV negative. Blood sugar testing is normal. Thyroid hormone level is normal. I have no real muscle weakness, no fatigue, and my apetite is normal. The only thing that stuck out was my trygliceride level shot up from something like 80 to 209 in the span of 2 weeks, and my HDL cholesterol went from 54 to 32 in the same period. I have never had high tryglicerides before and never had any cholesterol issues (always low if anything). Cancer-induced wasting, from my research, can indeed cause triglyceride levels to spike, and HDL cholesterol levels to decline. Doctors however, claim it is probably from what I am eating despite my diet not changing.

Since late Feburary, I have also been having chest pains off and on, right around my heart area. I have also noticed a rapid heartbeat upon getting up from sitting.

This is really fusturating because doctors claim there is nothing wrong with me and don't even believe the wasting issue in light of my weight remaining the same. "Anxiety" is what they keep telling me in light of an actual diagnosis, yet I can SEE myself getting thinner each day and those that know me agree that I have never looked so thin before.

Has anyone ever experienced anything like this? I am quite sure that I have some rare type of cancer (that "conveniently" is not showing up as a tumor on x-ray) as there is absolutely nothing that would otherwise explain this wasting. The wasting only began in relation to this bony mass getting larger/getting biopsied so deductive reasoning implies it has to be related.

I can not, for the life of me, even begin to understand how a bone swelling diagnosed as an "exostosis" would still not show up on an x-ray. How is it possible to have a mass growing on your body and yet medical tests fail to show it? I've read about EXTREMELY rare cases of jaw swellings where there is a cancer and for reasons unknown, no radiolucency appears on x-ray or CT, but all of my doctors assure me I don't have cancer.

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