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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 218-219

Cancer cachexia and its impact on patient dignity: What nurses need to know

Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit, Faculty of Nursing, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Susan McClement
Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Manitoba Research Associate, Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit Address: 89 Curry Place, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2347-5625.189808

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Noted physician, Sr. William Osler, is credited with saying, “Care more particularly for the individual patient than for the special features of the disease”. Osler understood that each patient for whom we care is first and foremost a person, who also happens to be living with a particular illness. In addition to understanding the nature of the patient's illness, therefore, it is also critically important that we come to understand the patient's unique story and set of circumstances. Doing so allows us to engage with patients in a way that affirms their sense of dignity and personhood. Drawing on the exemplar of cancer cachexia, this editorial reminds clinicians of the importance of Osler's sage advice to attend to patient dignity and personhood, and provides nurses with direction about how they can do that in practice.

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