Friday, 14 September 2007

Oncologists critical in managing psychiatric disorders

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According to an article in CANCER, mental illness and emotional distress in patients with advanced cancer is often overlooked by oncologists, but proper management can improve a patient's quality of life.

The review article was written by Dr. Michael Miovic and Dr. Susan Block from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Miovic and Block found that 50 percent or more of patients with advanced or terminal cancer suffer from at least one of three major disorders: adjustment disorders, anxiety disorders and depressive disorders. Medical management of cancer has improved in the last decade, but management of mental health issues has lagged, according to the authors. Studies show that depressive symptoms can even impact patients' lives even more than pain.

The authors recommend listening as the most important screening tool in the oncologist's toolkit.

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