Background: International expert consensus is that psychosocial intervention is likely to help advanced cancer patients and their family carers affected by weight loss and poor appetite.
Purpose: To investigate the potential for a psychosocial intervention, the Macmillan Approach to Weight and Eating (MAWE), to mitigate weight- and eating-related distress in carers of patients with advanced cancer.
Method: A controlled before and after study was conducted with carers of advanced cancer patients living in the community in the South of England in 2006-7. It used mixed methods to compare carers exposed to MAWE (n=12) with a control group (n=14).
Results: Weight- and eating-related distress improved in carers exposed to MAWE. Qualitative analysis found that MAWE may help carers by providing information, reassurance, and support for self-management.
Conclusion: This preliminary study of MAWE suggests that it provides benefits as a supportive intervention. Further testing is warranted using a more robust experimental design.