The reflections you get': an exploration of body image and cachexia.


The reflections you get': an exploration of body image and cachexia.


Hinsley R; Hughes R


International Journal Of Palliative Nursing




Female; Humans; Male; England; Attitude to Health; Interpersonal Relations; Prognosis; Questionnaires; Aged; Middle Aged; Health Services Needs and Demand; Qualitative Research; Social Isolation; Holistic Health; Spirituality; Nursing Methodology Research; Body Image; 80 and over; Adaptation; Psychological; social support; Social Behavior; Terminally Ill/px [Psychology]; Narration; Palliative Care/mt [Methods]; Cachexia/et [Etiology]; Neoplasms/co [Complications]; Quality of Life/px [Psychology]; Palliative Care/px [Psychology]; Cachexia/px [Psychology]; N


BACKGROUND: cachexia has a detrimental effect on quality of life and is an indicator of poor prognosis. The meanings people attach to their lived experiences of cachexia are unknown. AIMS: to explore the impact of cachexia on body image of people with advanced cancer, their emotions, relationships and social functioning. DESIGN: qualitative study using face-to-face in-depth interviews of a conversational style. Rich narrative data analysed by thematic content analysis. PARTICIPANTS: 12 participants recruited from two community palliative care teams in south east England. RESULTS: altered body image impacts on other aspects of embodiment: the emotions, spirituality, relationships and social functioning. Lives were restricted and isolated, which was compounded by emotional distancing by carers and health care professionals. Participants discussed their repeated attempts to re-adapt to disruptions of self caused by an altered body image. CONCLUSIONS: the key study implications focus on the need for (i) improved holistic care and support, and advice; (ii) training and awareness raising of care professionals; (iii) further research on the lived experiences of the condition and the development of effective measures of cachexia.


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Hinsley R; Hughes R, “The reflections you get': an exploration of body image and cachexia.,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed October 3, 2023,