All too often, you may see a patient and their family grapple with a new diagnosis of cancer by jumping in to learn the new lingo or schedule tests and treatments. They view the diagnosis as new project or new job, focusing all their attention on understanding their diagnosis, complying with and completing their treatment. At some point, the countless doctor visits, treatment sessions and tests will end and some patients and their families won't know what to do next. Perhaps they coped with their cancer diagnosis by avoiding their fears and worries, and the conclusion of treatment brings these feelings back to the surface. Not addressing the emotional aspects of their cancer diagnosis could lead some survivors to experience traumatic stress symptoms or even post-traumatic stress disorder. As a healthcare provider, knowing how to effectively assess your patient's risk of traumatic stress symptoms and provide resources/referrals for evidence-based interventions can greatly impact their ability to cope with the diagnosis and life after treatment.
How do you help your patients cope with a cancer diagnosis?