Talk doesn’t cure the cancer, but it helps

Every second person is suffering during his life to cancer. Although the diagnosis is no longer always a death sentence, Fears and triggers however. “Will I suffer?”, “I lose my job?” or “I Need to say goodbye to me?” Sometimes the Worries are so great that the person Concerned or their relatives need help.

Psycho-Oncology is the discipline that provides the mental health of cancer patients in the center. Anja Mehnert-Theuerkauf, holder of the chair of Medical psychology and Medical sociology, University hospital of Leipzig, conducting research for many years to the effectiveness of the division. “Several studies have shown that psychological interventions tailored to cancer patients, improve the quality of life is clearly measurable,” says Mehnert-Theuerkauf. “We know very well-informed on what is charged to the patients and how their disease process.”

The need is great: Every second cancer patient feels the investigation results of Mehnert-Theuerkauf, according to his cancer diagnosis impacted. The victims are exhausted, sad, or feel empty and can’t sleep. Around 30 percent of all cancer patients even suffer from more serious psychological problems such as anxiety and adjustment disorders, or depression, the need to be permanently treated weigh. Two-thirds of these patients were diagnosed according to the results, however, already under the disease, before they received the cancer diagnosis.

Rural regions are at a disadvantage

But even many mentally healthy cancer patients often need someone to talk to. You need to process setbacks in the treatment, no longer accept that they performance may be for the job and capable as before of the disease, or if feelings of guilt plague you – that the own life change, or a genetic Disposition is the trigger for the disease, or an inheritance could be to the children. Many clinics offer a flexible, localized supply, on average, five appointments.

“Compared to twenty years ago, has improved the supply situation,” says Anja Mehnert-Theuerkauf. “Nevertheless, a lot of air is still upwards, especially in more rural areas.” This assessment is confirmed by a recently released report compiled by a Team from the University medical center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) on behalf of the Federal Ministry of health.

The report, based on data from the year 2016 that identifies the current supply situation in the psycho-Oncology in General as well. Away from the University sites however, it is often tight, so the result. The authors point out that about older people or migrants are at a disadvantage without an adequate knowledge of German. In addition, the outpatient supply had to be expanded in the future.

Women to take the offer more often than men

In fact, it has done especially in the clinics since 2003, much. At that time, the German cancer society (DKG) began with the certification of the first breast cancer centers to promote high-quality treatment. The psycho-oncological care was a criterion from the beginning.

With the time the request was followed by diseases as well as for all other tumor. By the end of 2018, there were in Germany more than 420 clinics that had received a certificate of the DKG. According to estimates by the DCT is around 40 per cent of all patients come therefore to First treatment in a certified hospital. The psycho-oncological care in certified centres treated cancer patients, data is not collected.

Specifically, the certification provides: All patients should take a consultation of a minimum of 25 minutes. Depending on the result of the therapist recommends a secondary diagnosis, or treatment. Around 58 percent of the women treated in breast cancer centres, the DCT according to this offer. In men with prostate cancer, the Rate was only 23 percent.

The Fears are different

Possible explanations for this difference: women in psycho-social services are generally more open-minded than men. According to the experts, affected men prostate cancer seem to be also often considered to be less of a threat to their breast cancer than women. Statistically, this can be confirmed only very limited: The centre for cancer registry data counted in the year 2014 17.670 deaths due to breast cancer. The relative Ten-year survival rate of patients was 82 percent. In the same year, 13.704 men died of prostate cancer in a Ten-year survival rate of 90 percent.

In the clinics, so-called liaison services apply, as a rule, the care of the patient. At the University hospital of Schleswig-Holstein in Lübeck, Anna Frieder meidert, directs the psycho-Oncology outpatient clinic. To belong to your Team of 15 colleagues, all of whom are psychotherapists with relevant training.

The therapists belong to different clinics, the cancer patients treated. According to Frieder meidert, has proven this concept, since the psychotherapists so quickly in the medical backgrounds of specific diseases can appear. Because in cancer patients, anxiety can occur in addition to General psychological symptoms, such as Future specific: A man with prostate cancer fears may have incontinence, a woman with breast cancer has a fear of Amputation, one Patient with colon cancer a colostomy.

In addition to tumor centres and rehab clinics, in which psycho-oncological offers are not obligatory, provide some psychotherapists oncological support. The majority of those seeking help in this area is however covered through the outpatient cancer counselling centres, which also take care of the relatives of cancer patients.

Because studies show that the partners and families of the Patients feel partially more mentally stressed than the Patients. A working group of the since 2008, the existing National cancer plan is currently in the process to develop recommendations for the future funding of the cancer consultation. Possibly, this could be a rule, financing is secured.

For the stationary range, such a solution is not expected soon. So far, the centers have to raise the cost of the psycho-Oncology offer, there is no additional financing through the health care system. Anja Mehnert-Theuerkauf sees this as a hurdle for the expansion of supply, especially in the already poor-equipped rural areas. The opinion confirmed this assessment.

Smaller hospitals have a hard time to appropriate funds that often come from donations. University hospitals in larger cities are at an advantage. The disadvantaged patients from these regions. A Situation that should not be. Not because it is an average of five appointments, the Affected during their illness.