The state of psychosocial services in cancer care in the United States

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In 2009, the APOS commissioned a survey of its members and attendees of the annual meetings in 2008 and 2009. The goal of the survey was to assess the scope of psychosocial support services for cancer patients in the USA.


Two hundred thirty-three individuals (27% response rate) completed the survey, which included questions assessing the extent to which respondents' institutions provided informational and psychosocial support services and conducted screening for psychosocial distress.


Respondents were primarily psychologists, although oncologists, nurses, social workers, and others were represented, as well. A broad array of informational and support services were endorsed as being provided to cancer patients, both at no charge or for a fee. Respondents identified social workers as the professionals most often providing psychosocial services to cancer patients. Respondents also indicated that most psychosocial services have not been tailored to fit a culturally diverse population. Furthermore, most of the organizations represented in the survey do not routinely screen cancer patients for psychosocial distress.


A broad range of psychosocial services are provided in cancer treatment settings; however, despite National Comprehensive Cancer Network and Institute of Medicine recommendations, routine screening for distress is not offered in a majority of cancer care organizations. Despite the racial, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity of the US population, most organizations have not adapted their educational materials nor their psychosocial services to meet the needs of a diverse patient population. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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