SOCW 6205 Walden Hospital Social Work Interface of Medicine and Caring Discussion

Discussion: Psychosocial Aspects of Cancer

Cancer is often synonymous with fear, uncertainty, and death. A diagnosis of cancer begins a long journey that affects physical health, mental well-being, and relationships with loved ones. Although cancer care today often provides advanced medical treatment, psychosocial issues may not be adequately addressed (Artherholt & Fann, 2012). This failure may compromise the effectiveness of overall cancer management.

Oncology social workers play an integral role in cancer care in multiple settings. It is common for oncology social workers to engage in individual, family, and group intervention. In addition to providing direct patient care, oncology social workers provide valuable public health interventions, such as health education programs and policymaking.

To prepare for this Discussion:

Review this week’s resources. Select one of the many different types of cancer and think about the overall impact of the disease. Consider the psychosocial effects of cancer. How might the cancer affect the health and well-being of an individual and caregivers?

Post an explanation of how this type of cancer might affect the
health and well-being of the patient and caregivers. Explain the psychosocial
effects of the cancer on the patient and caregivers. Explain how psychosocial
factors might impact a treatment care plan and the management of the disease.
Finally, explain how you might address the psychosocial needs of a cancer
patient and caregiver.

Required Readings

Beder, J. (2006). Hospital social work: The interface of medicine and caring. New York, NY: Routledge.

  • Chapter 8, “Oncology Social Work with Adults” (pp. 81–94)

Gehlert, S., & Browne, T. (Eds.). (2019). Handbook of health social work (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

  • Chapter 19, “Oncology Social Work” (pp. 440-458)

Meuche, G. (2017). An uninvited guest: Addressing students’ death anxiety in oncology social work field placement. Field Educator, 7(1), 1-7.

Schroepfer, T. (2011). Oncology social work in palliative care. Current Problems in Cancer, 35(6), 357–364 [Erratum. Current Problems in Cancer, 36(1), 20].

Kent, E. E., Parry, C., Montoya, M. J., Sender, L. S., Morris, R. A., & Anton-Culver, H. (2012). “You’re too young for this”: Adolescent and young adults’ perspectives on cancer survivorship. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 30(2), 260– 279.

National Association of Social Workers. (2005). NASW standards for social work practice in health care settings. Retrieved from

Zafar, S. Y. (2018). Price of cancer care and its tax on quality of life. Journal of Oncology Practice, 14(2), 69-72.

Zavagli, V., Miglietta, E., Varani, S., Pannuti, R., Brighetti, G. & Pannuti, F. (2016). Associations between caregiving worries and psychophysicial well-being. An investigation on home- cared cancer patients family caregivers. Supportive Care in Cancer, 24(2), 857-863.

Optional Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2004). A national action plan for cancer survivorship: Advancing public health strategies. Retrieved from

Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Psychosocial Services to Cancer Patients. (2008). The psychosocial needs of cancer patients. In N. E. Adler & A. E. K. Page (Eds.), Cancer care for the whole patient: Meeting psychosocial health needs. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Retrieved from

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