CoC Source
March 28, 2013
News from the Oncology Community
Cancer Support Commmunity Data Shows Positive Results Following Screening for Cancer-Related Distress

The Research and Training Institute (RTI) of the Cancer Support Community (CSC) presented data at the March 2013 meeting of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network showing a significant decrease in emotional distress for people living with cancer who are screened with CSC’s distress screening program, CancerSupportSourceSM (CSS), and are linked to personalized resources. “Early diagnosis of and intervention for distress is related to better health outcomes and quality of life for people with cancer,” says Joanne Buzaglo, PhD, vice president of the CSC’s RTI. “We are thrilled to demonstrate that the use of CSS aided in the significant reduction of patients’ levels of distress within 30–45 days of initial screening,” said Dr. Buzaglo.

CSS is a comprehensive screening program that includes a 25-question tool to help identify priority areas in which a patient feels most worried as well as a full suite of community-based resources, customized to help individuals manage their concerns.  Patients in the study who underwent screening had a 10 percent decrease in overall distress with a 25 percent reduction in the number of concerns ranked as moderate or very serious.

Data presented at the meeting showed that CSS identified patients at risk for clinical depression with a high degree of certainty—equivalent to that of the Distress Thermometer, another cancer distress measurement tool.  Additional work is ongoing at the RTI to further target the early diagnosis of depression and to evaluate the impact of distress screening and follow-up on the cost of the cancer experience.

The combined findings support the recommendation of the 2008 Institute of Medicine report, Cancer Care for the Whole Patient, that social and emotional support must be a part of the standard for comprehensive, quality cancer care and that every person with cancer should be screened for distress. The findings also support the 2012 Patient-Centered Standards of the ACS CoC that, beginning in 2015, require all accredited cancer center patients be screened for distress. According to Christopher Gayer, PhD, director of the RTI, “The data is exciting because it supports the development and implementation of innovative approaches to help patients before their distress reaches a level that might create even more disruption in their treatment, quality of life or overall activities of daily living.”

For more information about distress screening or CancerSupportSource, visit the CSS website.


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Cancer Support Commmunity Data Shows Positive Results Following Screening for Cancer-Related Distress
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