New research in the July 2021 issue JNCCN-The Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network It points to the need to increase substance use and mental health support capacity in cancer centers in the United States. Past research has determined that people who have been diagnosed with cancer in the past decade have a higher prevalence for substance use disorders than those who have not been diagnosed with cancer recently. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic compared the American Hospital Association, District Health Resource File, and Hospital Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to analyze the psychosocial support offered by more than 1,000 cancer centers across the United States. They found that most centers offer mental health services (85.4%), but less than half (45.5%) offer chemical dependency services and even fewer offer both (44.1%).
Cancer patients often experience mental health and chemical dependency problems. If clinicians and patients do not identify and treat these conditions, they can result in lower quality of life, increased complications, additional caregiver burden, and even reduced survival. The resulting increase in resource use can also lead to increased out-of-pocket spending and payer costs.”
Shehzad K. Niazi, MD, FRCPC, principal investigator, psychiatrist, Mayo Clinic, Florida
Dr. Niazi continued: “As a possible solution, cancer center clinicians can establish formal referral relationships with community partners where possible. The recent dramatic increase in telehealth may also provide new opportunities to provide these services to more patients.”
Centers in more diverse areas were less likely to offer mental health and chemical addiction services, according to the findings.
“When you consider the context of a person’s life, there will be factors that help and hinder how they go through cancer treatment. It is crucial to screen for, assess, and intervene for factors beyond treatment-related side effects. For patients who are in active treatment and survive, as detailed in the NCCN Hazard Management Guidelines.” ,” Cheyenne Corbett, PhD, Center for Supportive Care and Survival, Onco-Primary Care Center, Duke Cancer Institute, was not involved in this study. . “While this care is now recognized as critical and there are accreditation standards to provide psychosocial screening and intervention, there are still many barriers to providing mental health and chemical dependency care to patients facing the impact of cancer on their lives.”
Dr. Corbett-; member of NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines)®) The Hazard Management Panel-;continued: “Researchers have identified the need for psychosocial services at cancer centers across the country and shed light on the differences in their availability. It is our mission to address these differences with innovative and collaborative approaches within and beyond the walls of our individual cancer centers.”
National Comprehensive Cancer Network