Located at Pennsylvania Hospital, the Cancer Appetite and Rehabilitation Clinic (CARE) brings together palliative care with rehabilitation services to reduce the effects of cancer cachexia and improve nutrition, function, symptom management, and quality of life for cancer patients.
Cancer cachexia is a medical condition that causes weight loss, lack of appetite, and loss of fat and muscle tissue. It may also cause fatigue. In the past, cachexia was seen as an inevitable part of the disease process, but now early identification and prompt intervention may improve the quality of your life.
You may consider attending the CARE Clinic if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Involuntary weight loss
- Increasing fatigue
- Difficulty with function and activities of daily living
- Difficult or painful swallowing
The goals of the CARE Clinic are:
- To prevent or reverse weight loss when possible
- To provide strategies to improve both speech and oral nutrition
- To improve cancer-related fatigue and function
- To improve the quality of your life by managing physical, emotional, social, and spiritual symptoms
Pain and Symptom Management
If you are suffering from symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, constipation, or fatigue, a pain and symptom management consultation is available. A thorough assessment is performed by one of our symptom management experts followed by treatment recommendations.
You may also meet with a registered dietitian to discuss nutritional problems, such as loss of appetite, food aversions, gastrointestinal side effects from chemotherapy or radiation or the need for food texture modification. In the CARE clinic, our registered dietitian will assess your baseline nutritional status, muscle mass, and calorie expenditure through specialized tools. An individualized plan is then developed to maintain an optimal nutritional status throughout treatment.
Speech and Swallowing Therapy
A speech-swallowing therapist is available to provide strategies to improve swallowing function and pleasurable intake of nutrition, and communication skills including articulation therapy, voice therapy, and non-verbal communication.
Physical therapy can help improve your overall endurance and muscle tone, improve your respiratory capacity, and reduce the effects of cancer-related fatigue. One of our physical therapists will perform a comprehensive assessment and develop a personalized exercise program to meet your individual needs. The use of exercise and physical activities can help condition your muscles and restore strength and movement.