Cachexia/Anorexia and Feeding Difficulties

  • Meera AgarEmail author
  • Valentina Razmovski-Naumovski
Reference work entry


Symptoms related to anorexia (loss of appetite), cachexia (muscle loss and wasting) and dysphagia (reduced ability to eat) are devastating for a person with a palliative illness and their families. They are common, especially as illness advances, and occur in both malignant and nonmalignant illness. Not only do the conditions serve as a visual reminder of the chronic disease, they also affect the psychology governing the social aspects of eating. For many years, anorexia, cachexia and dysphagia as distinct conditions were overlooked by healthcare professionals and researchers as the focus was on the primary chronic illness instead (Fearon et al., Understanding the mechanisms and treatment options in cancer cachexia. Nat Rev Clin Oncol 10(2):90–99, 2013). Clinical research, particularly in the field of cancer cachexia, has gained new insight in the pathogenesis and management of the conditions including anorexia and dysphagia. This chapter will define the conditions and outline the epidemiology, etiology and pathophysiology and assessment and management of these symptoms.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of HealthUniversity of Technology SydneyUltimoAustralia
  2. 2.South Western Sydney Clinical School, School of Medicine, University of New South Wales (UNSW)SydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Ingham Institute for Applied Medical ResearchLiverpoolAustralia
  4. 4.Palliative Care Service, SouthWestern Sydney Local Health DistrictSydneyAustralia
  5. 5.South Western Sydney Clinical School, School of Medicine, University of New South Wales (UNSW)SydneyAustralia

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