This comprehensive yet practical handbook consolidates information needed by health psychologists working alongside other healthcare professionals. It facilitates the progression of the learner from the classroom to the clinical setting by focusing on the translation of science to practice using practical examples. The Handbook is divided into four major parts. Part I highlights practical issues faced by health psychologists in a medical setting (how to motivate patients, consultation-liaison, assessment and screening, brief psychotherapies, ethical issues, etc.) Part II concentrates on treating unhealthy behaviors (alcohol and nicotine use, noncompliance, overeating/obesity, physical inactivity, stress). Part III considers behavioral aspects of medical problems (pain management, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, sexual dysfunction, HIV/AIDS, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia). And Part IV takes up special issues relevant to practice and research in the field (minority issues, women’s issues, working with geriatric populations, public health approaches to health psychology and behavioral medicine). The Handbook will prove to be an invaluable resource for those already working in the field of health psychology as well as for those in training.
Chapter 17: Psycho-Oncology
Cancer is a commonly dreaded disease that is the second leading cause of death in the Western world. The incidence of cancer, especially of specific diagnoses (e.g., breast, melanoma, thyroid, esophagus, liver), has increased during recent years, even when improvements in diagnosis and age-related trends are considered (SEER Program, 2002). If current trends continue, cancer diagnoses are expected to double over the next 50 years (Hoyert, Kochanek, & Murphy, 1999), with more than 1.3 million new cases of cancer diagnosed annually in the United States alone (Garfinkel, 1995).
Cancer denotes a family of diagnoses that may affect different body sites, including the breasts, prostate, lungs, brain, gastrointestinal organs, skin, soft tissues, and blood. It mostly consists of a tumor in a specific site but may ...