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Patients with advanced cancer used 4 self-action strategies to manage eating-related problems

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J B Hopkinson

Dr J B Hopkinson, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK;


How do people with advanced cancer manage their changing eating habits?


Mixed-methods, exploratory case study.




A purposeful sample of 30 patients >18 years of age (age range 43–85 y, 53% men) who had advanced cancer and were receiving palliative home care. None were receiving active treatment or artificial feeding at the time of the interview.


In individual, audiotaped, semi-structured interviews (20–60 min), participants were asked to talk about their experiences with changing eating habits and what had helped them to live with those changes. Data collection and analysis were informed by hermeneutic phenomenology. Data were analysed using a mixed strategy for cross-case analysis, which included content and thematic approaches.


Participants commonly experienced changes in eating habits. Eating became a chore, and changes in smell, taste, and texture of food affected the desire or ability to eat. The proposed theory of self-management of changing eating behaviours included self-actions (ie, …

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  • Source of funding: Macmillan Cancer Support.