What is psychooncology?
Why oncology psychology?
Psycho-oncology focuses on psychological interventions that are incorporated into cancer treatments. For optimum client care, medical specialists from different disciplines unite to contribute a holistic approach to treatment.
The Centre of Digestive Disease and Liver Health (CDDLH) at the Rosebank Netcare Hospital provides medical screening, assessment and counselling services in the context of a cancer diagnosis.
How can we help?
We assist with a broad range of difficulties primarily supporting you, your family and loved ones in cases below:
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Oncopsychology is applied with the understanding that a cancer diagnosis evokes existential themes.
For the most part, people diagnosed with cancer and treated with chemotherapy will often have fears about the cancer coming back.
Some patients undergo surgery to remove cancerous tumors and this takes a toll on them prior to the possibility of chemotherapy. Anticipating chemotherapy with the knowledge that the cancer is at an advanced stage is challenging to say the least.
The aim of treatment is to offer support for the patient throughout the different stages they experience as a result of a cancer diagnosis and other medical conditions related to chemotherapy. In addition, the treatment includes monitoring and evaluating how patients respond to the diagnosis.
Psychological interventions are designed to screen patients for symptoms of anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, delirium, suicidality, pain and fatigue at the onset of chemotherapy.
Research has found that in cases where patients have been told that they are now cancer free, anxiety symptoms are still present, particularly during a period of one week leading up to review scans. Through collaboration with oncologists and specialist surgeons, the psychologist handling a case is able to provide much needed support to patients and their families.
We conduct inpatient and outpatient psychological interventions with a focus on:
7 month Wellness Journey
Body Compassion Sessions
Massage Therapy with Talk Therapy
Selfcare group sessions
body compassion sessions in nature
use of art and drama therapy for healing
Waves in Communication Sessions
implementing self-compassion practices among loved ones
a seven month journey for your wellbeing
Family talk sessions
Wellness - symptom sentitive nutrition plans
Wellness - symptom senistive excercise and massage
Benefits of oncology psychology
At the very least, receiving a cancer diagnosis can be daunting. Patients go through a process of redefinition of self.
There could be a loss of the old-self as they come to terms with their new patient identity.
This process of meaning-making can be understood through the Kubler-Ross grief stages model.
According to this model, when people grieve they go through five stages; denial, anger, depression, bargaining and eventually acceptance. People who are diagnosed with cancer vacillate across these affective stages.
Some experience existential hopelessness, all the while exploring meaning and purpose-related fundamental questions.
These crucial and unique realities that cancer patients go through cannot be adequately addressed in consultations where the focus is solely on physiological symptoms.
Psychotherapy moves beyond the diagnosis and physiological management into the inner world of a person newly diagnosed or living with cancer. Some people choose to immerse themselves in new experiences, feeling as though they have a new lease on life, while others experience everything as daunting and pain ridden.
While some people want to apply the principles of positive thinking, others wrestle with negative and dark emotions that persist throughout the process of making sense of their experience. In turn, the support structure of the patient is equipped with psycho-education about the process of treatment.
Intervention is tailored to meet the needs of the client. Working as part of a multi-disciplinary team means that treatment is centralized and this is beneficial to patients. Access to information is quicker and the response time of the treating team is faster.
This means that anxiety around the illness and prognosis is alleviated at an early stage. It also fosters a sense of good will and hope to the patient which assists patients and their families through the difficult process of coming to terms with the difficult experience.
Essentially, psychotherapy increases quality of life and decreases emotional distress thereby resulting in a higher functional status.
In the end of life
thoughts retain less excess
and it becomes
less about the chaos
things that are inorderly
and more about calm
those we love
and that loved us
let us comfort you as we face that door
the door to the other side
it is a door we all must enter