Author: Chaoul A1, Milbury K, Sood AK, Prinsloo S, Cohen L.
1Department of General Oncology, Integrative Medicine Program, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.
Conference/Journal: Curr Oncol Rep.
Date published: 2014 Dec
Other: Volume ID: 16 , Issue ID: 12 , Pages: 417 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1007/s11912-014-0417-x , Word Count: 213
Being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease such as cancer and undergoing treatment can cause unwanted distress and interferes with quality of life. Uncontrolled stress can have a negative effect on a number of biological systems and processes leading to negative health outcomes. While some distress is normal, it is not benign and must be addressed, as failure to do so may compromise health and QOL outcomes. We present the evidence for the role of stress in cancer biology and mechanisms demonstrating how distress is associated with worse clinical outcomes. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network states that all patients be screened with the single-item distress thermometer and to also indicate the source of distress and to get appropriate referral. In addition to the many conventional approaches for managing distress from the fields of psychology and psychiatry, many patients are seeking strategies to manage their distress that are outside conventional medicine such as mind-body techniques. Mind-body techniques such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, and qigong have been found to lower distress and lead to improvements in different aspects of quality of life. It is essential that the standard of care in oncology include distress screening and the delivery of different techniques to help patients manage the psychosocial challenges of diagnosis and treatment of cancer.