Empowering The Mind, Strategies for Coping with Cancer: a Low Out of Pocket Expense Pilot Program

Receiving news of a cancer diagnosis has the potential to cause elevated distress for individuals which may manifest as a range of feelings including vulnerability, loss of control, anxiety, and depression, further compounded by the potential adverse effects of cancer treatments. Providing support to psychologically vulnerable patients is an important element of supportive cancer care. To date, there has been no specific program designed to address the psychological requirements of cancer patients in the South Western (SW) region of Victoria, other than private psychologist services which result in patients incurring high out-of-pocket expenses if not covered by private health insurance. In addition, the availability of psychologists in the SW region of Victoria fails to meet service demand. A feasibility study was undertaken to assess the benefit of conducting a low-cost program incorporating six group therapy sessions delivered by a clinical psychologist aimed at providing tools and coping strategies for patients experiencing a cancer diagnosis.It is proposed that group therapy sessions could be an alternative to the lack of psychology services for cancer patients in SW Victoria at low out-of-pocket expense.

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