The need for qualitative methodologies in cancer cachexia research

Claire Millar, Joanne Reid, Samuel Porter

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Background: Cancer cachexia is not well understood or managed in clinical practice (Delmore 2000; Poole and Froggatt 2002). Whilst a dedicated effort has been made towards understanding the biological processes of the syndrome, little attention has been paid to its multidimensional impact. This is despite previous qualitative research, enriching our understanding of the holistic impact of the syndrome which traditional quantitative methods could not have uncovered (Reid 2007).

Aim: The aim of this study is to determine the adequacy of the existing clinical knowledge base of cancer cachexia management.

Methods: A systematic critical review of the literature on cancer cachexia was undertaken.

Results: There is a need to develop protocols for care delivery, which move beyond a purely biological approach to care towards a more holistic approach. This can only be achieved by gaining the perspectives of those who are involved in care delivery to advanced cancer patients with cachexia and their families using qualitative methodologies.

Conclusions: Cancer cachexia is a complex, challenging syndrome, which must be understood from a holistic bio-psychosocial model of care in order to meet the multidimensional needs of this client population. The perspectives of those involved in care delivery is required in order to contribute to a knowledge base which will inform the development of interventions directed at empowering patients and their families to understand cancer cachexia and recognise it as part of the disease process.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Event5th Cachexia Conference - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 05 Dec 200908 Dec 2009


Conference5th Cachexia Conference


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