Psychosocial Oncology

Supportive Care

Evaluating Risk for Suicide in People Diagnosed or Living with Cancer

Andrew J. Roth, MD  /  August 15, 2011

The challenges of life-threatening physical illness can sometimes lead to suicide. In fact, given the critical stressors that a person with cancer faces, we might expect suicide to be a more common reaction. Patients with cancer are at increased risk of completed suicide, though the prevalence of su...

Supportive Care

Lifestyle Changes Can Benefit Patients with Cancer

Caroline Helwick  /  September 15, 2011

Oncologists may successfully manage their patients with cancer by following treatment guidelines, but they come up short when it comes to prescribing simple measures to enhance their patients’ health, according to Ann Partridge, MD, MPH, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, who spoke on the topi...

Supportive Care

Depression Is Dangerous among Patients with Cancer, but Talking and Pharmacologic Treatments Can Be Effective

Charlotte Bath  /  February 15, 2012

In the News focuses on media reports that your patients may have questions about at their next visit. This continuing column will provide summaries of articles in the popular press that may prompt such questions, as well as comments from colleagues in the field. “Depression is a very dangerous prob...

The Science of Resilience: Exploring the Process of Grieving from a New Perspective

Jo Cavallo  /  September 1, 2012

How human beings cope with bereavement, loss, extreme adversity, and life-threatening illness has dominated the research interests of George A. Bonanno, PhD, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Teachers College at Columbia University, New York, for more than 20 years. In his book, The Other Side of Sa...

American Psychosocial Oncology Society Provides Helpline for Counseling Services

The ASCO Post  /  October 15, 2012

The American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) offers a toll-free national Helpline as a resource to help people with cancer and their caregivers find counseling services in their own communities. Patients with cancer, caregivers, and advocacy organizations may obtain referrals for local counsel...

The Rise of the Vintage Readers Book Club 

Jimmie C. Holland, MD, Mindy Greenstein, PhD, and Christian J. Nelson, PhD  /  January 15, 2013

Providing care beyond medical treatment, the multidisciplinary field of psychosocial oncology addresses the psychological, social, and emotional health of the patient with cancer. On an occasional basis, The ASCO Post will explore the realm of psychosocial oncology with a column guest edited by Jimm...

Issues in Oncology

NCI Guide Helps Providers Get Adolescent and Young Adult Patients Involved in End-of-life Care 

Keegan Bales  /  April 15, 2013

Enabling adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients to become involved in advance care planning can help parents and health-care agents make informed decisions, alleviate distress, and possibly improve the patients’ quality of life, according to researchers at the National Cancer Institute’s Pediatri...

Breast Cancer

City of Hope Investigators Find Young Breast Cancer Survivors Understudied and Underserved 

Keegan Bales  /  April 15, 2013

Researchers at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, have been studying the effects of breast cancer on young women, particularly ethnic minorities and lower socioeconomic populations. They have found that young women are increasingly being diagnosed with breast cancer, yet rem...

Issues in Oncology

Tobacco Cessation Treatment Needed in Routine Cancer Care 

Keegan Bales  /  April 15, 2013

Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center reported that a new behavioral tapering intervention combined with cessation counseling and pharmacotherapy did not affect short- and long-term abstinence rates compared to cessation counseling and pharmacotherapy alone among smokers newly diagno...

Supportive Care

Pilot Study Seeks to Offer Social Support to Patients with Mesothelioma 

Keegan Bales  /  April 15, 2013

Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) reported that group therapy sessions may help patients cope with mesothelioma. Their two-part pilot study, which began recruitment in May 2011, is examining the emotional burden of the cancer and offers discussion groups as a source of su...

University of Denver and Exempla Healthcare Study Finds Patient Distress Screenings Practical, Helpful 

Keegan Bales  /  May 15, 2013

Researchers at the University of Denver and Exempla Healthcare found that multiple distress screenings per patient over the course of cancer treatment informs health-care providers about emotional distress patterns and supportive needs over time. The information gathered allows providers to improve ...

Supportive Care

Professional Societies Endorse 2015 Standard for Cancer Center Accreditation by Commission on Cancer 

The ASCO Post  /  August 15, 2013

In 2015, the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) Commission on Cancer (CoC) will require cancer centers to implement screening programs for psychosocial distress as a new criterion for accreditation. The American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) recently announced recommendations to support a ne...

Issues in Oncology

Study Evaluates Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms in Young Adults with Cancer

The ASCO Post  /  August 15, 2013

Researchers at the University of Michigan recently reported that young adults with cancer should try to stay occupied with school, work, and other usual activities during the year after their cancer diagnosis to become less vulnerable to post-traumatic stress symptoms. The study was recently reporte...

American/International Psychosocial Oncology Societies Host Event to Support Science and Practice of Psychosocial Care for Patients With Cancer 

Jo Cavallo  /  October 15, 2013

Recently the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) and the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS) held a fundraising event, Cruise for a Cause: Improving Psychosocial and Supportive Cancer Care, to raise money to advance the science and practice of psychosocial care for patients with c...

Breast Cancer

Patient Assistance Programs Provide Psychosocial but Not Practical Help

Charlotte Bath  /  November 15, 2013

“Patients with breast cancer who connect to relevant patient assistance programs receive useful informational and psychosocial but not practical help,” concluded Nina A. Bickell, MD, MPH, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and colleagues who conducted a randomized trial among 374 women i...

Supportive Care

Advancing Psychosocial Oncology Care Over the Next Decade

Jo Cavallo  /  November 15, 2013

A psychiatrist for more than 40 years, Jimmie C. Holland, MD, Attending Psychiatrist and Wayne E. Chapman Chair at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Professor of Psychiatry, Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York, is internationally recognized as the founder of the subspeci...

Global Cancer Care

IPOS/AORTIC Conference Aims to Bring Comprehensive Care to Patients in Africa

Jo Cavallo  /  February 1, 2014

More than 1,000 scientists from 66 countries, including 32 of the 52 African countries, attended the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) 9th International Conference on Cancer in Africa, held this past November in Durban, South Africa. The theme of the 2013 meeting was ...

American Psychosocial Oncology Society Launches Psychosocial Distress Program

Jo Cavallo  /  May 1, 2014

In February, the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) held its 11th Annual Conference in Tampa, Florida, and it marked a number of firsts. With over 500 registrants and more than 300 abstracts presented over the 3-day program, this was the largest APOS event to date. The theme of this year’...

IPOS Celebrates 30th Anniversary at World Congress in Lisbon

The ASCO Post  /  August 15, 2014

The International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS) will be celebrating its 30th anniversary at the 16th World Congress of Psycho-Oncology and Psychosocial Academy being held in Lisbon, Portugal from October 20-24, 2014. The Congress will feature a plenary session with nine past presidents, whose terms...

Clinical Studies in Psychotherapy Currently Recruiting Participants

Jo Cavallo  /  September 15, 2014

These studies are investigating psychosocial and individual meaning-centered psychotherapy interventions for patients with cancer and bereaved parents. They are sponsored by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and are currently recruiting participants. The studies are listed on the ClinicalTrials...

Supportive Care

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Launches Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy Programs for Terminally Ill Patients, Cancer Survivors, and Caregivers

Jo Cavallo  /  September 15, 2014

Although most major cancer centers in the United States offer support groups and individual counseling sessions to help patients with cancer cope with their disease and treatment, over the past decade Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York has broadened its psycho-oncology programs to in...

Supportive Care

One in Three People With Cancer Has Anxiety or Other Mental Health Challenges

The ASCO Post  /  October 15, 2014

Researchers in Germany report that nearly a third of more than 2,100 patients with cancer interviewed at inpatient and outpatient care centers experienced a clinically meaningful level of mental or emotional distress that meets the strict diagnostic criteria for mental disorders including anxiety an...

Supportive Care

Integrated Collaborative Care Program Highly Successful in Treating Major Depression in Patients With Cancer

Matthew Stenger  /  October 15, 2014

In the Scottish SMaRT Oncology-2 study reported in The Lancet, Michael Sharpe, MD, and Jane Walker, PhD, of University of Oxford, United Kingdom, and colleagues found that an integrated collaborative treatment program for depression (“depression care for people with cancer”) was associated with sign...

Issues in Oncology

NCI-Funded Program on Screening for Psychosocial Distress Accepting Applications

The ASCO Post  /  February 25, 2015

Funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Screening for Psychosocial Distress Program is a joint project of Yale University School of Nursing and the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS). The Screening for Psychosocial Distress Program trains cancer care providers on h...

Supportive Care

Childhood Cancers: Significant Medical Success but Many Psychosocial Needs Still Unmet

Margot J. Fromer  /  May 10, 2015

Treatment of childhood cancer is remarkably successful, but still, 2,000 children die of it each year, and for some forms of the disease, no progress has been made at all, said Otis Brawley, MD, Chief Medical Officer, American Cancer Society (ACS). “At least half of all pediatric cancer survivors ha...

Supportive Care

Researchers Discuss Pilot Study on Hallucinogenic Therapies for Cancer Anxiety

Ronald Piana  /  May 10, 2015

Although varying levels of existential distress are near-ubiquitous among patients with cancer, evidence-based interventions in this clinical area remain somewhat elusive. Seeking to explore novel approaches in the palliative care environment, New York University (NYU) School of Medicine principal i...

International Psycho-Oncology Society and American Psychosocial Oncology Society Meet to Foster Psychosocial Oncology Worldwide

Margot J. Fromer  /  September 10, 2015

The International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS) has partnered with the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) for the 17th World Congress of Psycho-Oncology, held in late July 2015 in Washington, DC. Its theme, “From National to Global: Implementing the Standard of Psychosocial Care in Oncol...

Supportive Care

Suicide After Cancer: Understanding the Challenges Across the Treatment Trajectory

Margot J. Fromer  /  September 10, 2015

Suicidal thoughts and impulses are among the most challenging symptoms in patients with cancer, and they may occur both during and after treatment. It has long been known that a cancer diagnosis carries an increased risk for suicide, but the problem is not widely addressed. Suicide is one of the few...

Geriatric Oncology

Coping With Aging and Cancer: Psychosocial Factors and Geriatric-Specific Interventions

Margot J. Fromer  /  September 10, 2015

You can’t control the wind, but you can adjust your sails,” said Mindy Greenstein, PhD, consulting psychologist and author, to begin her talk at the 2015 World Congress of Psycho-Oncology, held in July in Washington, DC. The sense of this proverb pervaded the entire session on cancer and aging. Eld...

Integrative Oncology
Palliative Care

Integrating Spirituality Into Palliative Care Services

Ronald Piana  /  December 10, 2015

Over the past couple of decades, the oncology community has made great strides in mediating the psychosocial needs of our patients. However, a patient’s spirituality is a subjective and uncomfortable issue for many oncologists, which leaves a gap in the continuum of care. To reach a better understa...

Issues in Oncology

Improving Management of Sexual Problems for Cancer Survivors

Alice Goodman  /  September 25, 2016

What do up to 60% of cancer survivors have in common? Answer: some type of long-term sexual dysfunction. How many cancer survivors seek professional help for sexual problems? Answer: less than 20%. Even when they do seek help, they may not be successful in finding professionals with expertise in sex...

Supportive Care

New Supportive Care Resources From NCCN Help Patients With Cancer Confront Distress

The ASCO Post  /  July 10, 2017

All patients with cancer experience some level of distress associated with their cancer diagnosis and the effects of the disease and its treatment—regardless of the stage of disease. Not only does distress affect a patient’s mental and psychosocial well-being, but because distress is a risk fact...