Assessment of Cancer-Associated Cachexia — How to Approach Physical Function Evaluation

Julia Fram, Caroline Vail, Ishan Roy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of review: Cachexia is a devastating syndrome that impacts a majority of cancer patients. Early assessment of cachexia is critical to implementing cachexia treatments. Our aim was to summarize the existing cachexia assessment tools for their utility in both symptom and function evaluation. Recent Findings: Several tools now exist that provide a symptom-based approach for evaluating weight change, appetite, and nutrition impact symptoms in cancer patients with cachexia. However, current instruments used to assess physical function changes related to cachexia are limited in depth and breadth. Instead, we recommend a tiered approach to cachexia-related functional assessment that involves evaluation of activities of daily living, general mobility, and exercise tolerance in a prioritized sequence. Summary: Current tools for cancer-associated cachexia assessment are adept at symptom evaluation. New approaches to physical function evaluation are needed that efficiently and broadly evaluate the diverse functional needs of cachexia patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-761
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent oncology reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Physical function
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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