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J Psychosom Res. 2003 Nov;55(5):403-9.

Cancer distress screening. Needs, models, and methods.

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Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Alberta Cancer Board, 1331 29 Street N.W., T2N 4N2, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


The idea of screening for distress in oncology populations is not new. Many recommendations have been made regarding the need for routine screening, and methods have been suggested for accomplishing this. However, a synthesis of this body of research is not readily available. This paper summarizes the literature documenting the levels of distress commonly found in cancer patients, followed by discussion of recommended standards for routine distress screening, and a summary of various programs that have attempted to establish clinical screening programs. The computerized quality of life (QL) screening literature is also briefly reviewed as potentially instructive. This review is followed by a theoretical and psychometric assessment of the various screening instruments and screening models that have been suggested in the literature or used clinically and a brief assessment of possible economic costs of psychosocial screening, ending with concrete suggestions for methods and models that could be widely adopted by psychosocial oncology programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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