Symptoms in advanced pancreatic cancer are of importance for energy intake


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Purpose Cancer cachexia and low energy intake (EI) probably contribute to weight loss in advanced pancreatic cancer (PC). However, little is known about the actual EI in this disease. Aims were to assess EI, weight loss and symptoms during the disease course and investigate associations between symptoms and EI. Methods Thirty-nine patients (21 males) with advanced PC were consecutively included and followed every 4 weeks until the end of life. A 24-h dietary recall was used to assess EI. The Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) and the PC-specific health-related quality of life questionnaire (QLQ-PAN26) were used for symptom assessment. Results Median age was 62 years (48–88), WHO performance status 1 (0–2) and survival 5 months (1–25). Seventeen (44 %) patients had unresectable cancer, 16 (41 %) metastatic and six (15 %) recurrent disease. Upon inclusion, 37 (95 %) reported weight loss (median 4.0 kg per month). During follow-up, median weight loss per month was <1.0 kg. Forty to 65 % had EI <29 kcal/kg/day (cut-off value for weight maintenance) during the observation period but they did not lose more weight than patients with EI ≥ 29 kcal. Strong negative correlations (r range) were found between EI and pain (0.51–0.61), fatigue (0.54–0.67), oral dryness (0.61–0.64) and loss of appetite (0.53–0.71). Conclusion In this study, several symptoms influenced EI negatively. Low EI did not completely explain weight loss in this patient group, but careful monitoring and early follow-up of symptoms may be important interventions to reduce weight loss in advanced PC.



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