Improving outcomes in oncology: patient centricity and mental health

A key challenge in healthcare is how to proactively address unmet needs through patient-focused campaigns and resources, particularly at a time when ‘in-person’ care is limited. How can this be overcome?

It is estimated that more than 50,000 people did not receive a cancer diagnosis during the pandemic, and about half of cancer patients had interrupted care. Treatment delays during the first year of the pandemic have led to a significant increase in stress, anxiety, and depression.

For the estimated 2 million people in the UK living with cancer, finding the right support can be difficult as the mental health impact of cancer changes throughout the patient journey. It is vital that they have access to dynamic human-led support from diagnosis to treatment and beyond. People with mental illness need to consider their physical health needs, while people with cancer need to consider their psychological concerns.

Currently, the stigma of these conditions and lack of understanding often lead to poor treatment outcomes. Chronic illness itself is a risk factor for developing mental illness; this can have a large impact on survival outcomes.

  • Poor communication and impersonal care that disregards mental well-being is a leading cause of anxiety and depression in people with cancer
  • This increases the risk of relapse and lowers the pain threshold, and social isolation may increase cancer progression due to stress mechanisms.
  • The organization of physical and mental health in silos aggravates the problem, compromising care and leaving:
    • patients lacking advice, or
    • Health professionals who care for patients outside their specialty

The Patient Information Forum found that around 5.5 million people in the UK were not given useful information when they received their diagnosis. This highlights the immediate need for trusted sources of practical, timely and up-to-date information in this period of uncertainty for patients.

  खाने में मिलाएं ये चीज, ना बनेगी गैस, ना होगी बदहजमी, पेट की हर समस्या का होगा अंत

What can you do to help effectively support patients?

Holistic care requires that we meet the physical, emotional, and social needs of the patient. for creating action-oriented communicationscan help cancer teams guide their patients through the psychosocial consequences of cancer care.

It is effective to complement this approach as well develop assets that can empower patients – providing them with a trusted source of practical information and the tools to address their material and emotional needs.

Patients know what information they want and need: connect with patients and families and use real-world treatment and recovery stories to interact on a personal level with other patients. Use language that is intended to be inclusive and positive, and encourage self-care and open dialogue with health teams.

make your resources relevant, easy to find in places a patient might look, and Easy to use in simple and attractive formats. Consider delivering complex information through remotely accessible digital tools to help patients connect with doctors.

Patients want information about their health and treatment that can’t always be given at appointments. You can give them valuable and personalized assets to manage your wellness and learn about your care independently; this can reduce information overload and improve your interaction with healthcare.

The best modern medical care is individualized, person-centered and accessible; Start personalizing your patients’ resources with accessible, evidence-based strategies to enable them to live better and live longer.

Miranda Stead, Director, Mednet Group, [email protected]

Holly Ross, Senior Medical Writer at Mednet Group, [email protected]

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