What is psychosocial oncology?
Psychosocial oncology addresses the variety of psychological, behavioral, emotional and social issues that arise for cancer patients and their loved ones. Research shows that high levels of stress during treatment can affect mental and physical health - high stress can lead to depression, lower quality of life negative health behaviors, and also lower immunity and result in faster disease progression. Therefore, cancer patients often find it helpful to see a psychologist to deal with stress.
How can you help individuals with cancer?
We will work with you to help you cope with the initial impact of a new cancer diagnosis on your mental health, physical health, career, lifestyle, and relationships. We will provide with support to address the stress, sadness, and worry that can occur as you endure the oncological medical treatments. We also work with individuals after remission to help explore the meaning of their cancer experience and navigating fears about cancer returning.
What treatment approach do you use?
We use Barbara Anderson's behavioral intervention for cancer (called Cancer to Health), which has extensive research support. Strategies that we incorporate in treatment include managing pain, dealing with emotional challenges, body image, navigating relationship challenges, how to think about stress, how to communicate with doctors and others about their treatment, how to seek social support, how to become physically active and take other actions to reduce stress, and how improve mood and enhance quality of life.
What kind of experience do you have working with individuals with cancer?
Dr. Sala has led Cancer to Health groups and has worked with patients who have cancer individually. She has completed several medical psychology rotations throughout her training. Please contact her to learn more about her experience.