Weight loss in cancer patients - what it is about and what to do.
What is it about?
Many cancer patients experience unintended weight loss as their disease develops. Part of this is due to loss of appetite and thereof reduced food intake. Also, the cancer itself leads to substantial changes in the nutrient turnover only worsening the condition. The clinical condition (and how the person appears) is called cachexia. Cancer cachexia leads to reduced physical function, reduced tolerance to cancer treatment and reduced survival. With lung cancer as a frame, this article reviews current knowledge on cancer cachexia and clinical management of the syndrome.
Why is it important?
It is important to recognize that cachexia is a serious condition because it has a great negative impact on many cancer patients and their families. There is no effective treatment available to this huge patient population and we only understand fragments of the believed metabolic alterations that underlie their condition. Therefore, it is important to initiate more clinical research on cancer cachexia. In the future, we will hopefully be able to identify patients in an earlier cachectic state in the attempt to prevent and slow down symptom development. Eventually, more effective treatments specifically targeting cancer cachexia may be available.
The following have contributed to this page: Jonas Sørensen
In partnership with: