The following article features coverage from the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress 2019. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor‘s conference coverage.

Greater efforts are needed to help patients with advanced cancer who are suffering from psychological distress, according to study findings presented at ESMO Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. Researchers from Indonesia reported that the concept analysis of psychological distress needs to be effectively adopted and defined for patients with advanced cancer to help improve their quality of life and overall outcomes.

The description of psychological distress in advanced cancer is not clearly defined even though the psychological distress concept in advanced cancer is known to be significantly different than the psychological distress in patients with early stage cancer, according to this report. A literature search covering 30 years — 1988-2018 — turned up nothing on the concept analysis of psychological distress in patients with advanced cancer.

Psychological distress in patients with advanced cancer has 5 defining attributes. These include anxiety, depression, demoralization, death anxiety, and perceived inability to cope effectively. Patients may fare much better if their psychological distress is identified and treated appropriately. However, by not doing a better job of addressing this issue, patients may experience a greater sense of hopelessness, a poorer quality of life, and reduced performance status.

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The study findings contend that oncology nurses are in need of guidance in this area so they can help lower anxiety and depression in these patients. “Intervention should address the antecedents and consequences of the concept and [consider] (the) individual as a person who has unique characteristic,” concluded the presenter.


Huda N. Psychological distress among patients with advanced cancer: a concept analysis. Presented at: ESMO Congress 2019; September 27-October 1, 2019; Barcelona, Spain. Abstract CN22.