Supportive psychological care in pediatric oncology and hematology

The increasing survival rate for treating childhood cancer presents quality of life issues for the child and family. Considering the fact that paediatric malignant diseases are more akin to a chronic life-threatening disease, the goal of treatment is not only to promote survival and extend life, but also to facilitate psychological adjustment. Psychologists are present throughout the continuum of cancer – from prevention and preclinical cancer (genetic risk factors or positive cancer markers); through diagnosis, curative treatment, survivorship; to palliative and end-of-life care. The role of the psychologist, as a member of the medical staff on Oncology and Haematology Wards, is in facilitating the adjustment of sick children and their families through assessment, counselling and psychotherapy, psychological training of medical staff, conducting research and facilitating psycho-oncology service development. Paediatric psycho-oncologists must be clinical psychologists with basic education in behavioural-cognitive psychotherapy (this is a therapy of choice for treating childhood disorders) and additional education in art, play or music therapy. A special emphasis is on neuropsychological assessment and (psycho)therapy (rehabilitation of cognitive function).

Keywords: PSYCHO-ONCOLOGY, PSYCHO-ONCOLOGY CONTINUUM, PSYCHOLOGIAL INTERVENTIONS – adjustment, management of pain, psychotherapy during adolescence, cognitive functioning, long-term survivors, THE ROLE OF CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST
Category: Review
Volume: Vol. 53, No 4, october - december 2009
Authors: M. Benko
Reference work:

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