Psychological Services for Patients With Breast Cancer
Breast cancer affects 255,000 new women each year, and there are 3.9 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. Psychologists play a key role in breast cancer treatment including assessment of the emotional impact and intervention. This paper reviews current literature and discusses common mental health issues, clinical considerations, evidenced-based treatments, and cultural issues for psychologists working with breast cancer patients. Common mental health issues among breast cancer patients include adjustment disorder, anxiety, and depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and symptom management for pain, fatigue, and insomnia are frequently used interventions. Clinical and ethical considerations include decision-making dilemmas, such as with risk-reducing surgeries, and awareness of healthcare disparities in the breast cancer population, including poorer differential outcomes in underrepresented individuals.