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Oncology (Williston Park). 1989 Nov;3(11):120-9; discussion 129-31.

Helping patients cope with cancer.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Southern California.


Oncologists and oncology nurses are in a unique and important position to help patients cope with the many stressful aspects of cancer. Oncology professionals can provide tremendous help to patients and their families by: 1. Being aware of the emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and social problems that patients and their families commonly experience as they adjust to cancer; 2. Encouraging patients to communicate freely about their current problems and their fears for the future; 3. Listening to these concerns and providing information about the normalcy of these reactions; 4. Providing specific suggestions for coping, when needed, based on knowledge of the successful coping efforts of others; 5. Making referrals to mental health professionals when these more limited interventions fail to provide sufficient help. We summarize reactions and difficulties that are common among cancer patients at six stages of the disease and we suggest interventions that may be helpful to patients as they cope with and adjust to these difficulties.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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