What are the next steps for screening programms for the detection of distress in cancer patients?

Alex Mitchell, MBBS, BMedSci, MSc, MD, MCPsyc, of the University of Leicester, UK, discusses the next steps for screening programs for the detection of distress of cancer patients at the 2016 National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Conference in Liverpool, UK. Prof. Mitchell says that the bottom line is that centers around the world should be screening for distress more but the barriers for implementation must be addressed. A barrier that is often not addressed is the acceptability of what follows screening. The screening test itself only really helps with identifying if the patient is suffering. However, what comes next is the need to help that patient with their suffering. This is where treatment modalities that we have got currently may not suit all patients. For example, counselling sessions or anxiolytics may not suit everyone. He explains that just as the screening programs must be given more attention, equal attention must be given to the quality and acceptability of the therapy that follows screening.

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