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Exploring psychological distress and care of cancer patients

21/06/2016

Dr Lesley Storey

Dr Lesley Storey has recently been collaborating with Professor Nick Hulbert-Williams (University of Chester) as part of a study looking into psychological distress experienced by cancer patients and the care they received from health professionals.

Their study has been published in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer and seeks to explore the use and effectiveness of psychological interventions (particularly Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)) with patients.

Psychological distress is common, and understandably high, in cancer patients. The evidence for the effectiveness of psychological interventions in reducing distress in cancer patients is currently unclear.   ACT is an intervention which uses acceptance (of the feelings associated with a cancer diagnosis and treatment) and mindfulness processes to improve the quality of life for patients.

Prof Nick Hulbert-Williams said; “Clinical studies demonstrate that challenging, suppressing or attempting to control unpleasant thoughts and emotions can actually increase and worsen psychological distress.  We want to understand better the process of psychological adjustment to stressful life events, such as cancer”.

Dr Lesley Storey added: “These findings make the case for the use of ACT with cancer patients and provides a strong basis for its use in intervention studies to reduce distress”

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