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Keywords:

  • cancer cachexia;
  • palliative care;
  • qualitative methodology;
  • nursing research

REID J., Mc KENNA H.P., FITZSIMONS D. & Mc CANCE T.V. (2010) European Journal of Cancer Care19, 682–689

An exploration of the experience of cancer cachexia: what patients and their families want from healthcare professionals

The aim of this paper is to investigate the perceptions of patients and family members with regard to care received for cancer cachexia. A qualitative study recruited 27 participants, of which 15 were patients with advanced cancer who had primary cachexia and 12 were family members. Participants were recruited from a regional cancer centre in the UK. All participants took part in a domiciliary interview, which was transcribed verbatim for analysis. A major finding from analysis was ‘lack of response from health care professionals’ in relation to cancer cachexia management. This finding illuminated that patients and their family members wanted three things from healthcare professionals. They wanted their profound weight loss acknowledged, they wanted information about it and why it was happening and they wanted interventions to deal with it. This paper provides powerful messages for healthcare professionals and highlights the needs of patients and their family regarding cancer cachexia management. Patients and their families want this problem addressed by healthcare professionals. This client group requires supportive healthcare interventions, so that they can understand the nature and impact of this syndrome.