Cancer and its treatment can impair physical capabilities of patients considerably. Weight loss, muscle wasting, a feeling of weakness and fatigue occur very frequently. One out of two cancer patients suffer from this so-called tumor cachexia syndrome over the course of their disease. It decreases the quality of life and can affect the success of cancer therapy. Tumor cachexia can already occur in an early stage of the disease and is characterized by skeletal muscle wasting and a decrease in muscular strength which need to be monitored very closely; however, these symptoms are not necessarily accompanied by weight loss. Changes in muscle structure can be detected reliably by special, easy-to-apply procedures measuring the composition of the body’s fat and muscular mass.
Physical training together with an optimal diet can increase skeletal muscular strength counteracting the symptoms of tumor cachexia and theadverse effects of cancer therapy. Thereby it is possible to maintain physical capabilities and the wellbeing of patients, or even restore them. A better physical and mental status helps the patients to actively contribute in combatting their disease.
However, little is known about the complex mechanism of tumor cachexia and its effects on the body. A better understanding of the syndrome is crucial in order to develop specific therapies which aremissing to date.
We support research groups studying the underlying mechanisms of muscle loss and the pathological changes in the musculature of patients with tumor cachexia syndrome, aiming at the development and application of new and effective personalized training and nutrition concepts.