Cancer Anorexia and Cachexia: Screening in an Ambulatory Infusion Service and Nutrition Consultation

Donna L. Berry, PhD, RN, AOCN®, FAAN; Traci Blonquist, MS; Manan M. Nayak, MA; Kristin Roper, PhD, RN, AOCNS®, CCRP; Nancy Hilton, RN, MS; Heidi Lombard, RN, BSN, OCN®; Allison Hester, RN, BSN; Anne Chiavacci, MS, MA, RD, LDN; Stephanie Meyers, MS, RD, LDN; Katherine McManus, MS, RD, LDN


Background: Cancer anorexia-cachexia syndrome compromises physical function and nutritional and emotional well-being. Systematic screening followed by nutrition referral for appropriate interventions is rare.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to pilot a screening process followed by nutritional assessment and intervention when warranted for patients with lung malignancies.

Methods: Adult patients with lung malignancies were invited to complete the 12-item Anorexia/Cachexia Scale (A/CS-12) on the day of chemotherapy initiation in ambulatory infusion. Those who scored at a preset threshold were referred to nutrition services for a comprehensive assessment and intervention plan. Those who scored better than the threshold completed the A/CS-12 at each infusion visit for as many as 16 weeks. 

Findings: 90 participants enrolled, and 46 scored in a moderate-to-severe-risk category; of those, 42 were referred to nutrition services.

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