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Anorexia and Cachexia 

Anorexia and Cachexia
Chapter:
Anorexia and Cachexia
Author(s):

Elizabeth E. Schack

, and Dorothy Wholihan

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190862374.003.0011
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date: 23 October 2019

Anorexia/cachexia syndrome (ACS) is being progressively recognized as a serious aspect of advanced or terminal illness. This chapter focuses on its management, which is complicated by numerous obstacles. These include a lack of clear definitions and guidelines, inconsistency in assessment and management strategies, and knowledge deficits regarding this complex clinical syndrome in health professionals and caregiving families. This chapter highlights this challenge, compounded by the interwoven emotional symbolism of food and nurturance. It focuses on the inherent role of palliative care providers as leaders striving to support, understand, and translate the developing evidence that guides our care. The complex and potentially devastating impact of this problem demands a holistic response. Palliative care nurses are optimally situated to coordinate and administer the necessary multidisciplinary approach to address anorexia and cachexia in advanced, progressive disease.

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