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Eur J Cancer. 2000 Mar;36(5):579-85.

Psychosocial problems secondary to cancer: an Italian multicentre survey of consultation-liaison psychiatry in oncology. Italian Consultation-Liaison Group.

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Dipartimento Discipline Comunicazione e Comportamento, Sezione di Psichiatria, Universit√° di Ferrara, Corso Giovecca 203, 44100, Ferrara, Italy.


Data relative to consultation-liaison psychiatry (C-L) in oncology are lacking. In order to examine this area, a multicentre investigation was conducted in 17 general hospitals in Italy. All psychiatric consultation requests for cancer patients referred to C-L during a 1-year period were evaluated. Only 5% (n=217 referred patients: 114 men and 103 women) of all C-L activity were for cancer patients. Most were 'routine' consultations (72%) for current psychiatric symptoms (69%) or coping/compliance problems (12%). Previous psychological or psychiatric disorders were shown in 32% of cases. Approximately 40% of patients were not informed of their referral to C-L. The most frequent ICD-10 psychiatric diagnoses were adjustment disorders (27%) and major affective disorders (23%). Transfer to psychiatric units was low (1%). These findings indicate the need for improvement of referral criteria to C-L and closer attention to continuity of psychosocial care of cancer patients during hospitalisation and post-discharge.

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