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Weight and Appetite Loss in Cancer 

Weight and Appetite Loss in Cancer
Weight and Appetite Loss in Cancer
Psycho-Oncology (3 ed.)

Neil MacDonald


The anorexia-cachexia syndrome (ACS) is a multifaceted symptom complex with variegated features that tie together in a framework not yet clearly understood. Cachectic patients exhibit variable combinations of weight loss, anorexia, muscle and fat loss, together with wasteful increases in energy expenditure. The syndrome is usually accompanied by myriad other symptoms, most notably taste changes, increased satiety with delayed gastric emptying, decreased function, and fatigue, which in some part may be related to loss of cardiac muscle and reserve. Cancer anorexia-cachexia is a multiple organ dysfunction syndrome. This chapter follows Anderson’s model to tease out the pathophysiologic aberrations in immune, neuroendocrine, metabolic, and social controls, examining the tapestry that links them together. Then, the chapter presents an account of therapy tied to pathophysiologic understanding, concluding with optimistic projections for future research.

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