It is very difficult for pancreatic cancer patients to maintain weight for several reasons. Many patients lose their appetite and the normal taste of food as a result of byproducts released from the cancer. Even the food that is eaten may not always be digested well because the pancreas is not working properly. If the pancreatic duct is obstructed or after surgery, the pancreas may not release sufficient amounts of pancreatic enzymes.Therefore some patients will benefit from taking pancreatic enzymes.
Unfortunately, the problems with weight do not end there. The majority of patients with pancreatic cancer will still lose weight even if they are eating and digesting their food sufficiently. Many pancreas cancers (and other cancers) release compounds into the blood that breakdown muscle and fat (causing cachexia). So that over time patients will find they are not only slimmer but their muscles are smaller and they become progressively more fatigued.