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Introducing multicultural psycho-oncology



Starting from the work of a small group of psychiatrists interested to examine the psychophysiological and emotional factors implicated in cancer and cancer treatment, oncologists quickly started showing a specific need for more precise indications about the psychosocial, behavioral and rehabilitative issues in cancer care. This determined the rapid growth of the psycho-oncology discipline in the USA from the 1970s and subsequently, from the early 1980s, in many other countries, such as France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, UK, only to cite some. Over the last quarter of century, a bulk of psycho-oncology studies have in fact indicated that 30-40% cancer patients fail to adapt and present emotional disorders – mainly depressive, anxiety and adjustment disorders according to the ICD-10 and DSM-IV taxonomic systems – as a consequence of cancer and cancer treatments. The implications and the impact of psychosocial disorders for the patients and the families are of paramount importance in oncology with several studies demonstrating that clinically significant distress is associated to maladjustment, reduction of quality of life and impairment in social relationships, longer rehabilitation time, poor adherence to treatment and abnormal illness behavior, and possibly shorter survival. Thus, psycho-oncology, as the specialty aiming at studying the psychological, social and spiritual factors that affect the quality of life of cancer patients and their loved ones, has today a specific and unquestionable role in the multidisciplinary approach to cancer. This role has been declined, in several countries, through the development of psycho-oncology services, programs and/or departments with the mission of providing specific activities in terms of clinical care, education and research

Topics: Psychosocial aspects, psycho-oncology, multiculturality, IPOS
Publisher: JOHN WILEY & SONS, Ltd
Year: 2012
DOI identifier: 10.1002/9781119941101.ch1
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