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July 2, 1898


JAMA. 1898;XXXI(1):32-33. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.02450010042008

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The condition of emaciation, anemia and general prostration which accompanies many of the malignant tumors was formerly believed to be a specific symptom of the disease and was called cachexia. Even earlier, the condition, under the general name of a dyscrasia or diathesis, was supposed to precede and induce the growth of malignant tumors. At the present day as well, cachexia is considered by many to be one of the essential symptoms of a malignant growth, yet this opinion must be much modified in the light of observations made upon any given series of patients suffering from malignant tumors.

Cachexia is a term also used to express the condition of patients suffering from a variety of chronic general diseases, such as insufficient food, chronic septicemia or intoxication, leukemia, Addison's disease and anemia. In these diseases there is a general disturbance of metabolism which is chronic in its course and unassociated

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