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The emotional aspects of cancer anorexia

Hopkinson, Jane B

Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care: December 2010 - Volume 4 - Issue 4 - p 254–258
doi: 10.1097/SPC.0b013e32833ef813
Cachexia, nutrition and hydration: Edited by Michael J. Tisdale and Aminah Jatoi

Purpose of review To discuss the psychosocial support of people affected by cancer anorexia, drawing on recent publications.

Recent findings Recent studies describe the problem of distress in response to cancer anorexia. There are propositions of appropriate support and calls for the development of psychosocial interventions to relieve cachexia-related distress. Preliminary work is now testing these ideas.

Summary Psychosocial support for cancer anorexia is a new and promising field of study. The prevention or alleviation of the anorexia of cachexia would relieve much eating-related suffering experienced by patients and their families. However, whilst the scientific community works to achieve this goal there is another task to be addressed: to help people with cancer anorexia to adapt and live with the symptom. Despite accounts over many years of the distress caused by poor appetite, little attention has been paid to the potential for psychosocial support to aid self-management of the symptom. Emergent thinking is that psychosocial support for cancer anorexia can have benefit for both patients and their family members.

Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

Correspondence to J.B. Hopkinson, PhD, RN, Macmillan Post Doctoral Fellow, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK Tel: +44 23 8059 8225; e-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.