Co-relation of FAACT Appetite Scale with Nutritional intake of Cancer Patients

Ms .S .Amena Omer*, Mrs. H. Shyam, Ms. M. Kosi Reddy,
Clinical Dietitian
Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, India

Background: Anorexia is a common symptom among patients with prolonged illness. It leads to malnutrition of energy, proteins and other nutrients. Prolonged anorexia in cancer patients can lead to a complex syndrome called ‘’anorexia-cachexia syndrome’’. Anorexia/Cachexia adversely affects the patient’s body form, function, response to (chemotherapy or radiation) treatment, quality of life and survival. Hence, in order to provide effective health care, nutritional status of patients, their nutrient intake and appetite should be assessed periodically though out their treatment and intervened with nutritional, medical or psychological support.

Functional Assessment of Anorexia/Cachexia Therapy (FAACT) appetite scale is 12 questions based patient rated, symptom specific measure for appetite, and distress from anorexia of patients who complain of lack of appetite. The FAACT appetite scale assesses anorexia-related symptoms and differentiates their severity by assigning a score ranging from 0 (worst response) to 4 (best response). Therefore, it could be proposed that a score ≤24 may be sufficient to make a diagnosis of anorexia.

Aim: The aim of this study was to co-relate the FAACT score for anorexia with patient’s nutrient intake.

Methods: A study was carried out where the FAACT questionnaire was administered to 100 cancer in-patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation as treatment. Their 24 hour calorie and protein intake and anthropometric measures (BMI) were recorded in order to correlate it with the FAACT score.

Results: The FAACT scale assessed 57% of the sample to be anorexic with a score ≤24. Their BMI was in the range of 15-32kgs/m2 with an average of 24kgs/m2. They were also found to have a low protein intake with an average of 41 % of their RDA (1.2gms/IBW) and low calorie intake of an average of 65% of their RDA (30kcals/IBW).Thus, rightly co-relating the FAACT anorexia score to the low nutrient intake.
Similarly, those with a FAACT score of above 24 were found to have a protein intake of an average 97% of their RDA (1.2gms/IBW) and a calorie intake of an average 88% of their RDA (30kcals/IBW). Their BMI was found to be in the range of 15-34kgs/m2 and an average of 25kgs/m2. Thus making them more tolerant and receptive to cancer therapy with an increased rate of survival.

Conclusion: The FAACT scale helps in assessing anorexia /cachexia in cancer patients and co-related well with the high incidence of low calorie and low protein intake percentage to RDA. Thus categorizing them to be anorexic and nutrient deficient.