Psychosocial Care after Cancer Diagnosis: Recent Advances and Challenges
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Psychosocial oncology is coming of age. While the survival rates of cancer patients have increased, many patients suffer from treatment-related long-lasting effects that may adversely affect their mental health and health-related quality of life. Along with the changes in therapeutic strategies, physicians should pay more attention to the psychosocial problems secondary to cancer as it is well recognized that the diagnosis of cancer and its treatment can be extremely stressful and emotional for cancer patients. Psychosocial oncology refers to the multidisciplinary subdiscipline of cancer care that was created to improve patients’ mental well-being by offering strategies to help them cope with the demands of treatment and uncertainty of disease outcome in the best possible way. Psychosocial care should be available prior to diagnosis to beyond palliative care and survival. The International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS) is the multidisciplinary international body responsible for the psychological, social and behavioural issues in cancer care. They propose an international quality standard, which could have a synergistic effect, in addition to international and national efforts to improve psychosocial cancer care : 1. Psychosocial cancer care should be recognized as a universal human right. 2. Quality cancer care must integrate the psychosocial domain into routine care. 3. Distress should be measured as the sixth vital sign after temperature, blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate and pain. That brings us to the topic of this Special Issue: what are the recent advances in psychosocial oncology and what challenges are we facing?
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