July 25th 2013
Cancer and its psychological impacts
We are all familiar with the physical impacts of cancer but the psychological impacts are less recognised and understood. In the following letter from Cancer Council of Queensland's Jeff Dunn, we learn of a new study that highlights the importance of support for cancer sufferers, in this case, men with prostate cancer.
It has long been a concern of mine, and of Cancer Council Queensland, that the emotional and psychological impacts of cancer often go untreated, even though they are critical to a patient’s wellbeing.
Earlier this week, new research by CCQ and Griffith Uni highlighted the importance of supporting men who might feel distressed by prostate cancer.
In North Queensland, around 220 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year - 1 in 5 of us in our lifetime.
Our study confirmed many men distressed by prostate cancer do not access the psychological support they need to cope better and preserve quality of life.
It also demonstrated the effectiveness of a practical screening tool to diagnose distress associated with prostate cancer – welcome news, which will assist health professionals conducting routine checks and providing referrals to appropriate support.
I also want to encourage men to have the courage to call on our help. And no matter where you live in Queensland, from Mt Isa to Townsville to Bowen and beyond, we are here to help.
Our Helpline is our first responder, providing referrals to our statewide no-cost Cancer Counselling Service.
Whether you’re a patient or a family member, or just someone with a question about cancer, you can reach us via the Helpline on 13 11 20.
No one should feel alone on a cancer journey. It’s crucial to address distress so that patients have the emotional resilience to cope with the many physical symptoms of cancer.
We also acknowledge an ongoing need for further research into patterns of distress in regional men with prostate cancer – to build on our current understandings of regional cancer disparities in Queensland.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via www.cancerqld.org.au or Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.
Professor Jeff Dunn
Cancer Council Queensland