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31. Oncology Social Workers

Battling cancer can cause one emotional crisis after another -- mini-traumas, really -- so professional crisis counseling has become an important part of cancer care. Among those best suited for this counseling are oncology social workers.

Q. What is an "oncology social worker?"

A. They have a master's degree, they are state licensed and skilled at stabilizing people traumatized by their environment. After they also work in a cancer center setting for several years they can be referred to as an oncology social worker.


Here are some of a patient's changing emotions during their battle with cancer:



Diagnosis: You have cancer: Often a trauma-like daze: loss of ability to process data and emotions. Understanding cancer: overwhelmed by vast body of new information; needs guidance & coaching. Making treatment choices: insecurity about decision and fear of unknown. Treatment: anxiety about life disruption; pain and discomfort from treatment side effects. Post-treatment: elation mixd with fear of cancer's return and fatigue from life rebuilding and in some cases depleated finances.