Definition

Weight loss is a reduction in body mass characterized by a loss of adipose tissue (body fat) and skeletal muscle.

Description

Unintentional weight loss is the most common symptom of cancer and often a side effect of cancer treatments. A poor response to cancer treatments, reduced quality of life, and shorter survival time may result from substantial weight loss. The body may become weaker and less able to tolerate cancer therapies. As body weight decreases, body functionality declines and may lead to malnutrition, illness, infection, and perhaps death.