Children and adolescents with cancer are confronted with many challenges. This review considered studies that used qualitative methods to examine the body image experience of children and adolescents with cancer. A systematic literature search of English and Chinese databases was undertaken, covering the period between 1960 and October 2010. Qualitative research findings were extracted and pooled using the Joanna Briggs Institute Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument. Eight papers met the inclusion criteria. The derived four metasyntheses included being distanced from the body, loss of self-identity, self-protective strategies and support, and getting rid of the shackles of the body. In conclusion, children and adolescents with cancer also experience various problems associated with changes in their body image. Repeated courses of treatment lead to loss of a normal, orderly life, and might even result in changes in interpersonal interactions. In response to body image change, individuals with cancer develop self-protective, coping strategies. Children and adolescents who experience life-threatening cancer come to face body image change positively, and might hold a confident attitude toward their future.
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