Psycho-Oncology focuses on understanding and treating cancer by considering the psychological, social, spiritual, emotional and functional aspects of cancer. Psycho-oncological counselling aims to reduce uncertainty, feelings of anxiety, helplessness, and confusion among cancer patients and their families.
Cancer Clinics is trying to spearhead this discipline in India. We do both individual and family-based sessions. We offer face-to-face counselling for those residing in Hyderabad, and telemedicine for those who do not reside in Hyderabad.
WHY DO WE NEED PSYCHO-ONCOLOGICAL COUNSELLING?
Cancer is no longer a disease that afflicts only a few people. It has become a common reality in most Indian families. In India, every year, 10 lakh new cancer patients are added (Lancet, 2014). The diagnosis is often accompanied by several issues. Fundamentally, the diagnosis signifies shock, fear, anxiety, and confusion. It is often looked at as being synonymous with death, and treatment outcomes remain uncertain in several cases.
The pressures of managing the illness offer several challenges - for some families the financial burden is extreme; for others, it might be just figuring out the treatment options and managing the disease. The treatment period is very long, and side effects of treatment plague most patients, and even those at the post-treatment stage need care.
Owing to a situation of high pressure, every cancer patient goes through a wide range of emotions. The denial, sadness, anxiety, and depression over an extended period of time take a toll on the emotional health of the individual. This also indirectly negatively impacts treatment outcomes since a statistically better treatment outcome is related to the extent of participation that the patient has in making decisions related to treatment.
Cancer is life-altering for the patient and family in more ways than one. Owing to the wide gamut of requirements, we need a new discipline of medicine to address these needs. So, psycho-oncology has been put together as a discipline that could address the emotional requirements of both patient and family while navigating cancer as a disease.
HOW DOES A PSYCHO-ONCOLOGIST HELP?
Our counsellors are psycho-oncologists who are trained in clinical psychology and establish a patient-centric approach to provide support. They work with both patients and families to help cope with diagnosis and treatment better. In India, we have a family-based society, so, the context of a cancer diagnosis is different from that of the West. With a diagnosis, spouses and families also become involved in treatment closely. Our psycho-oncologists helps both the patient and the family and take a holistic approach to manage the treatment.
While our nurses provide support for your physical health, our psycho-oncologists focus on your emotional wellbeing.
BENEFITS OF SEEKING SUPPORT FROM A PSYCHO-ONCOLOGIST / COUNSELLOR
There are myriad of spaces where the interventions of a psycho-oncologist are essential.
A psycho-oncologist/ counsellor helps
- Manage the psychological effects of treatment better.
- Clarifies and helps the patient and family understand the nature of the disease and makes them more aware.
- Address issues that come up during the course of the treatment, including body image issues, treatment-related anxiety, etc.
- Maintain active communication between the patient, family, and friends.
- Support caregivers by addressing their emotional response to the diagnosis, and treatment.
- Support the patient to rehabilitate post-treatment.
Over the course of the treatment, the need for counselling also varies. Our psycho-oncologists assist you through the entire period of treatment and tailor it particularly to what the individual needs at a given point in time.
This discipline is slowly getting entrenched in our country now. India is now seeing a new set of psycho-oncologists who are trying to change the treatment ecosystem.