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34. Psychosocial Issues

The dreaded words "you have cancer" usually produce negative psychological effects - like fear, stress and even some depression. A diagnosis also disrupts how the patient interacts with the society around them - their co-workers, family and friends. Taken together, these are the "psychosocial" issues that need to be addressed as an integral part of battling cancer.



Cancer Care for the Whole PatientIn 2007 a "BlueRibbon Panel" of the Instituteof Medicine published a ground breaking study of some 400 pages. The study was entitled "Cancer Care For The Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs."

If the psychosocial problems associated with cancer are not addressed then, according to the Blue Ribbon Panel, they will cause "additional suffering," they will "weaken adherence to prescribed treatments" and "threaten patient's return to health."
The Blue Ribbon Panel concluded that cancer can cause or exacerbate "psychological and social problems" for the patient.

These problems include "depression... lack of information to manage the illness... lack of transportation (to get to doctor appointments)... and disruptions in work, school and family life."

Therefore the Blue Ribbon Study concluded that "attending to psychosocial needs should be an integral part of quality cancer care. The Blue Ribbon Study has sparked increased formation of nonprofit "cancer patient navigator" organizations. And we should see more of them. As just one example, visit this website: www.fightingchance.org.