Anorexia is loss of appetite or desire to eat, accompanied by decreased food intake.
The onset of anorexia may be within days or weeks of beginning cancer treatment.
Anorexia can be related to:
- treatment side effects (nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, xerostomia, pain, taste and smell changes)
- other medication (opioids, antimicrobials, antidepressants, antibiotics)
- psychosocial factors (fatigue, lethargy, anxiety, depression, inability for self-care - lack of support)
- tumour related factors (type of cancer, presence of metastatic disease, hypercalcaemia, factors secreted by the tumour, gut involvement, metabolic abnormalities)