Alleviate Cancer Survivor Distress: Screening and Psychosocial Care
Research was conducted to find out the approximate number of cancer survivors living in the United States. The number came up to be around a total of 14.5 million. After analysis, it was observed that this number has doubled compared to the last 10 years. A study was conducted to discover the reasons for this change. It was found out that advancements in treatment and technology had helped in increasing the number of survivor patients.
Each and everystage of cancer can bring distress and misery to the patients as well as their family members. From the time of diagnosis until the time of treatment and long-term follow-up, the patient feels as if they are riding an emotional roller coaster.
Once a cancer patient has won the battle against cancer, they find themselves in another battlefield against depression and distress. Signs of survivors showing distress can be seen through them feeling sad and vulnerable. They might also suffer from anxiety, depression, social isolation or panic attacks.
This unpleasant psychosocial and emotional mental state of cancer survivors is concerning and needs to be addressed. Awareness has started to increase regarding the care and treatment of these patients. With the help of patient’s doctors, oncologists and psychologists, distress screening methods have been established and administered.This has now become a common practice for every cancer survivor to be screened for these emotional problems during their medical visits.
There are various distress screening methods and tools most commonly used. Some of them used are Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18), and the Distress Thermometer (DT).
After the patient’s distress screening has been administered and the results have been determined, psychosocial care and treatment can be referred to the survivors accordingly. If the results of the survivors show signs of nominal distress, they may be directed to either a patient-to-patient or psychoeducational support interventions. Those showing serious signs of distress are urged to join support groups or under-go psychotherapy or crisis intervention.
Family members and friends are encouraged to help and support their loved ones who have fought the battle with cancer. They should get themselves involved in helping their loved ones get counseling. Find out about support groups in your area where your loved one can connect and chat with other cancer survivors. Make sure your loved one knows they are not fighting this battle alone.