Study: Cancer survivors often do not discuss psychosocial needs with their doctors

The majority of cancer survivors do not discuss their psychosocial concerns with their health care provider, and do not use professional counseling or support groups, according to new research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The study assessed the delivery of psychosocial care in clinical practice;the findings are based on data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey.  

Only 31.4 percent of the participants reported having a discussion with their provider about their psychosocial needs; less than five percent sought help through professional counseling or a support group, but didn’t have a conversation with their physician, and less than 10 percent spoke with their physician and used additional support services.

The researchers also noted that roughly one out of every six survivors who did not seek counseling or a support group reported that they either were not aware of these types of services or did not have access to them.

In a related editorial also published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the authors point to this study as further evidence that psychosocial distress among cancer patients and survivors is still not identified and addressed as it should be.