Introduction: Why Should We Care About the Cancer Anorexia/Weight Loss Syndrome?
February 01, 2003
In a recent study, Wolfe and others interviewed 103parents of children who had died from cancer.Approximately 80% of these children suffered anorexia,or loss of appetite. Over 35% of parents identifiedanorexia as a cause of distress for their child whena physician failed to recognize it. Wolfe and othersconcluded,"greater attention to symptomcontrol.…might ease…suffering." In adults, the syndromeof cancer anorexia/weight loss is no lesspervasive, and no less distressing. Anorexia is one ofthe most deleterious symptoms, surpassed only bypain and fatigue. The majority of adults withadvanced cancer suffer from it toward the end of life.Among all cancer patients-regardless of age orcancer type-"greater attention to [the anorexia/weightloss syndrome]…might ease…suffering."