In cancer care, the importance of treating the “whole person”

A recent Huffington Post piece discusses integrating the management of distress in cancer care to better manage the treatment of the “whole person”:

“…many patients have complained that the “human” side of their care has lagged far behind. They often feel their treatment is directed at their tumors, while they and their families are left to fend for themselves emotionally. Doctors have historically dismissed the “human” side as too touchy-feely and were reluctant to discuss emotional issues.”  

With a growing body of research and renowned national and international institutions endorsing distress management for cancer patients, including the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, the Institute of Medicine, the American College of Surgeons (ACoS), the International Psycho-Oncology Society and the International Union Against Cancer, important steps are being taken to spread awareness and ensure more comprehensive “mind-body” care for cancer patients.

In some cases, such as with the ACoS, cancer centers will be required to assess and monitor for distress to receive accreditation.

Incorporating a distress management program into already busy cancer clinics comes with obstacles, and as the article correctly points out, “there is no ‘one size fits all’ model.” The Polaris Oncology Distress Management System is a fully customizable, Web-based all-in-one solution to effectively screen for and manage psychosocial distress among cancer patients. The system has been scientifically validated, and optionally includes the entire NCCN Distress Thermometer problem checklist.

Polaris Oncology also helps cancer centers efficiently address new distress accreditation standards; it was selected by the ACoS Commission on Cancer for inclusion in their Best Practices Repository for cancer care.

Learn more about the many features of Polaris Oncology, including a tailored patient motivational feedback report, automated referral and EHR compatibility.