Mom's losing a lot of weight. Any advice? -

Mom's losing a lot of weight. Any advice?


Hi everyone. Mom, who is 71 years young, has been steadily losing weight recently. She has lost about 15 pounds in the last 6 months. I tried adding lots of extra calories with no success, and recently began adding Ensure drinks which haven't offered any weight gain either. Mom is 5'2" and currently at 118 pounds.

Now her doctor wants to begin running tests for cancer. Mom is scheduled to do all sorts of imaging in the next month, followed by loads more tests depending how this first series turns out. The problem is these tests are insanely expensive and mom only has Medicare.

Has anyone else had a similar situation that turned out to be something minor, not cancer related? I would like to avoid tens of thousands of dollars in tests if there are alternative smaller tests the doctor could do first.

Of course mom's health is paramount, but her doctor has been known to order lots of unnecessary tests in the past, resulting in very large out of pocket fees.

Thanks to all.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.


Thanks everyone for your feedback. Just got off the phone with mom's doctor and mom's recent blood work showing blood counts, thyroid, and diabetes came back normal (the doctor said these three are what she tested because they are the most common causes of weight loss detectable via blood work).

Mom's doctor said I could postpone the CT scan of the abdomen/pelvis until after I meet with the Gastroenterology doctor, and then if he deemed the CT scan necessary, mom could have it done at that point. We had been scheduled to have the CT scan done before the meeting with him.

So, I guess the best thing to do is wait for the Gastro doctor's consultation.

If anybody else has experience with a similar situation, your advice would be greatly appreciated.

Helpful Answer (0)

In my mom's weight loss, it was a combination of thyroid problems and also memory loss (she would literally forget to eat). Also, my mom lost her taste buds (possibly due to her statins) and has no appetite, so there's no other cue for her to eat except to eat when it's time to.

Any one of these things I mentioned can affect whether a person eats, properly.
Helpful Answer (0)

Perhaps her appetite has changed. I don't think that is a bad weight for someone that is 5'2" and she may be even shorter, now.

What does she think? Is she incapacitated? 71 isn't old.
Helpful Answer (0)

I'm suspicious of a Dr. who throws out the word 'cancer' based only on weight loss when it's very common for elderly people to lose weight. Did this Dr. do any basic blood tests before ordering thousands of dollars of testing? A basic CBC? A basic chem panel? These are routine blood tests that are done in the office. I'd be suspicious if these tests haven't been done and your Dr. is throwing around the word 'cancer' and suggesting expensive testing.
Helpful Answer (1)

Well, hyperthyroid would do it but I bet they ran T4 and TSH for that already...does she have a fast heart rate, eye problems, nervous, etc.??

Some chronic or parasitic infections or malabsorption syndromes, usually with diarrhea could do it too.

But yeah, you have to think about CA and find out what you are dealing with. Can she get any kind of Medicare supplement going?
Helpful Answer (0)

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.