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Steven's Story: A Weight Loss Journey Following Cancer Treatment

Steven Glode was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March of 2020, and came to ECHN’s John A. DeQuattro Cancer Center for a consultation in June of 2020. During that initial consultation, Steven’s radiation oncologist suggested that he meet with Tracey Luciani, the center’s registered dietitian to discuss the benefits of weight loss, hopeful to facilitate weight loss prior to Steven starting radiation treatments.

When Steven met Tracey, he weighed 366.4 pounds and had a body mass index (BMI) of 52.7. For reference, a healthy BMI falls between 18.5 – < 25.

At the start of his cancer treatments in mid-August, he had already successfully shed 30 pounds! For this weight loss program, Steven was initially seen weekly concurrently with his cancer treatments. His wife came for his initial appointments and asked questions regarding specific foods/beverages and evaluation of their home cooked meals and recipes. In this program, Steven was educated on portion control and intermittent fasting/time-restricted feeding as strategies to achieve successful weight loss. He also kept food records and weighed himself daily. Tracey reviewed his food records and made recommendations accordingly, focusing on both the quality and quantity of food. Steven also learned how to incorporate more vegetables and fruit into his diet, which opened him up to incorporating plant-based meat alternatives.

In October 2020, Steven completed prostate cancer treatments and had lost a total of 95 pounds over 21 months. His BMI dropped down to 39 which reflects an improvement of nearly 14 points! Tracey and Steven still meet every 3- 4 weeks.

“After losing weight, I feel much better overall and I am sleeping better too. I no longer suffer from heartburn or acid reflux and I have more energy!”

Steven wants people to know that they should not wait too long to lose weight. They should set their mind to it, get started and get it done. He says he wishes he did this 15 or 20 years ago.

When contemplating a weight loss journey, it’s important to have a good support system. Both Steve’s wife and Tracey have been great. Steve says, “I have talked about weight loss before with other people but they didn’t seem as caring as Tracey was. It was ‘just a job’ for them, but not for Tracey. Tracey cares. It’s important to find the right person to help you.”

Steven’s goals don’t stop here. He aims to lose another 22 pounds to get down to 250 pounds and then reach out to an orthopedic surgeon to discuss knee replacement surgery options.

Part of Steven’s success can be attributed to the fact that he was ready to make a lifestyle change and he continues to be highly motivated. Tracey says, “I am very honored to be a part of this process and am genuinely excited for Steven’s continued success.” Steven states, “Tracey is a great Registered Dietitian (RD). She is wonderful and helps to keep you motivated and focused. She is a very nice person, and I would recommend her and this service to anyone. On a scale of 1 to 10, this service is a 10!”


About ECHN’s DeQuattro Cancer Center Weight Loss Program

All patients receiving radiation for cancer are screened by Tracey Luciani, RD and those individuals with a BMI (body mass index) >30 (a healthy BMI falls between 18.5 – < 25) are offered weight loss services/support prior to, during or following treatment whichever is deemed appropriate. The services are included as part of their treatment and has no out-of-pocket costs to the patient.

The goal is for the patient to achieve a healthier weight and/or BMI in an effort to decrease their risk of cancer recurrence, improve/resolve existing co-morbidities and prevent potential diseases/disorders. The National Institute of Health and National Cancer Institute found that “obesity may worsen several aspects of cancer survivorship, including quality of life, cancer recurrence, cancer progression and prognosis1.” It is important for everyone to maintain a healthy weight, but even more so for cancer patients.

Participants are encouraged to lose weight gradually. Recommendations are tailored to the individual. Most patients are initially asked to keep food records and see the RD on a weekly basis (meetings are less often with successful weight loss/maintenance). Family members or friends may be involved in meetings in an effort to be educated on healthy weight loss while supporting the patient. Some patients choose to follow a program that has worked for them in the past and see the RD for weigh-ins. The on-going weigh-ins/in-person meetings are essential to maintain accountability. The RD can provide meal plans, recipes and strategies for successful weight loss.

1. Wolin, K. Y., Carson, K., & Colditz, G. A. (2010). Obesity and cancer. The oncologist, 15(6), 556.