Cachexia is a wasting syndrome in which both fat and muscle are lost due to the presence of tumor or inflammation. It implies a state of profound nutritional deficiency. This word is derived from the Greek words kakos meaning bad, and hexis meaning condition1. This term is most often used to describe patients with chronic or end stage diseases such as cancer, AIDS, or cystic fibrosis. Affected patients lose weight and appetite and as a result become weak and fatigued. Drastic losses of body mass may lead to alterations in metabolic functions such as electrolyte balance. Electrolyte imbalances reduce strength, increase fatigue and weakness, and can cause numbness, tingling, involuntary twitching, and even pain. Severely malnourished individuals have difficulties performing even basic tasks such as bathing and grooming. In severe cases, starvation can result in death. Death is most likely a result of severe electrolyte imbalances that lead to arrhythmias. Death has also been reported due to weakened respiratory muscles leading to pneumonias that spread to the blood stream and result in fatal infection. Unfortunately, in cancer, Cachexia is present all too often.
Cite this article:
Jeenath Justin Doss. K. Developments in the Fight against Cancer Cachexia. Int. J. Adv. Nur. Management 3(2): April- June, 2015; Page 164-166.