The purpose of this paper is to argue the significance of psychosocial oncology in cancer treatment. Historically, cancer treatments have almost entirely been centered on treating the disease, while largely neglecting to care for the psychological health of the patient. Unfortunately, almost half of surveyed cancer patients develop preventable psychological disorders that go unrecognized (Parle, 1996). The field of psychosocial oncology acknowledges that cancer affects not only the mental health of the patient, but also that of his/her loved ones. The cancer patients whose treatments are enriched by the implementation of psychology have statistically lower mortality rates. Many studies show a better prognosis for patients in good mental health and a lower chance for later relapse when their spider web of social connections is acknowledged and preserved. Recently health care providers are recognizing the power of psychosocial oncology and are beginning to implement the field in their treatment plans with the goal of providing more efficient and holistic care to their patients.
The Significance of Psychosocial Oncology in Cancer Treatment
One of the greatest enemies of humanity is not what lives around us, but what may live inside us. In today’s modern society, especially in America, it is easy for one to feel invincible against traumas such as car accidents, bankruptcy, or even terrorism. Many of us convince ourselves we are safe against life altering dangers by putting our trust in the safety regulations of our automobiles, the expertise of our stockbrokers, or the strength of our military. The enemy that may be inside us is impartial to factors such as religion, wealth, age, political views, geographical location, gender, ethnic group, and social status. Unfortunately, the American Cancer society states that about 1/3 of all women an 1/2 of all men will eventually find their sense of security shattered when they find themselves sitting in a hospital room, staring blankly at a man in a white coat who had just muttered the three worlds that has the power to bring the most powerful man on Earth to his knees, “You have cancer”. From this point on the individual will never be the same. For centuries doctors have solely focused on treating the disease of the patient, while neglecting the psychological needs of both the individual and their loved ones. Although historically the psychological aspect of a patient’s treatment has widely been neglected, psychological oncology has statistically increased the efficiency of cancer treatment and is beginning to prove itself as a significant tool in improving the cancer patient’s quality and longevity of their life.
Psychosocial oncology is a relatively new field in cancer treatment. In previous years doctors seemed to only be concerned with treating the disease through treatments such as immunotherapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, hyperthermia, and stem cell transplants. It wasn’t...