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Psychosocial Video Series
While most breast cancer programs and endeavors raise money for research for “a breast cancer cure," or to encourge women to get mamograms for early stage dignosis, WomenStories benefits those who have already been diagnosed and need the information and comfort that only other breast-cancer survivors can provide. You will see that no two people react exactly the same way to breast cancer; every woman’s response is different but valid for her. There are no narrators in WomenStories videos. Survivors provide advice, support and encouragement as they tell their stories. Patients’ stories in WomenStories videos reach beyond medical treatment and provide emotional knowledge that can alter a woman’s attitude towards herself and the disease.


The Institute of Medicine's Report of October, 2007

Cancer care today often provides state-of-the-science biomedical treatment but fails to address the psychological and social (psychosocial) problems associated with the illness. This failure can compromise cancer patients. Psychological or social problems created or exacerbated by cancer - includingdepression and other emotional problems; lack of information or skills needed to manage the illness; lack of transportation or other resources; and disruptions in work, school and family life - cause additional suffering, weaken adherence to prescribed treatments, and threaten patients' return to health.

A range of services is available to help patients and their families manage the psychosocial aspects of cancer. Indeed, these services collectively have been described as constituting a "wealth of cancer-related community support services."

Today, it is not possible to deliver good-quality cancer care without using existing approaches, tools, and resources to address patients' psychosocial health needs. All patients with cancer and their families should expect and receive cancer care that ensures the provision of appropriate psychosocial health services. This report recommends ten actions that oncology providers, health policy makers, educators, health insurers, health plans, quality oversight organizations, researchers and research sponsors, and consumer advocates should undertake to ensure that this standard is met.


On behalf of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Public Strategies, Inc. and SS+K conducted a survey of 1,020 self-identified cancer survivors in October 2004. The survey was conducted using e-Rewards online panel. The margin of error for the survey is ±3.1 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence interval. Below are the findings from the Livestrong Poll.

    Increased Need for Non-Medical Support:
  • Nearly half (49%) of respondents said their non-medical cancer needs were unmet.
  • Among those who felt their non-medical cancer needs were unmet, 70 percent said their oncologists did not offer any support in dealing with the non-medical aspect of cancer.
    The other 30 percent said their oncologist was willing to talk about these issues, but did not have enough information or experience to really help them out in this area.
  • More than half (53%) of respondents agreed that the practical and emotional consequences of dealing with cancer are often harder than the medical issues.

    Lack of Resources for Emotional Support:
  • One-third (33%) said some or very few/none resources were available to meet their emotional needs, followed by 28 percent for practical issues, like finances and work, 23 percent for physical issues and 14 percent for medical issues.
  • Seventy percent of respondents said they had to deal with depression as a result of their cancer, within this group 88 percent said they've had some level of difficulty dealing with the issue.
  • Yet, seventy-eight percent did not seek out the services of a counselor, social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist as a result of having cancer.

    Attitude Towards Cancer:
  • Nearly three out of every five (59%) respondents expect to die from something other than cancer.
  • Fifty-seven percent agree that cancer may leave their body, but it will always be a part of their life.
  • Almost half (47%) agreed that in some strange way dealing with their cancer diagnosis forced them to focus and they feel they’re leading a better life now.
  • Fifty-six percent agreed that they now take a more active role in speaking up about cancer and urging people to get screened.

    Secondary Health Problems:
  • Dealing with secondary health problems caused or exacerbated by their cancer treatment is an issue for more than half of respondents (53%), within this group 49 percent said they had a very difficult time dealing with the issue.
  • Fifty-four percent of respondents have had to deal with chronic pain.
  • Seventy percent of respondents have dealt with depression.
  • Thirty-three percent have dealt with infertility.

    Financial Problems:
  • Forty-three percent, potentially 4.3 million people, said they’ve had to deal with decreased income as a result of the disease.
  • A quarter of respondents (25%) said they went into debt as a result of their cancer and its consequences. Within that 25 percent:

    • Thirty-five percent said they incurred up to $10,000 of debt
    • Twenty-four percent said they incurred from $10,000 - $24,000 of debt
    • Fifteen percent incurred from $25,000 - $49,000 of debt.

  • Twelve percent of respondents said they turned down a treatment option specifically because of financial concerns.

  • Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they’ve had to deal with a loss or decrease in both sexual desire and sexual function. Within this group more than half (54%) said they had a very difficult time dealing with the loss or decrease of both sexual desire and sexual function.
  • Dating problems are an issue for 25 percent of the respondents. Within this group 42 percent said it was really difficult to deal with this problem.

    Job Issues:
  • Almost a third (32%) of respondents said they’ve had to deal with lack of advancement, demotion or job loss as a result of their cancer.
  • Thirty-four percent said they felt trapped in their job by the need to preserve insurance coverage.

    Daily Living
  • Almost half (47%) made major changes to diet and eating habits and 43 percent said they increased their level of physical activity and exercise.
  • People dealing with cancer are living their life as they would without cancer.
    As a result of having cancer:

    • Eighty-eight percent did not start participating in sports
    • Eighty-six percent did not move to a new location
    • Eighty-one percent did not make a career change
    • Seventy-one percent said they did not travel to someplace special/exotic

Source: Lance Armstrong Foundation