There are many mental and emotional ramifications of living with and fighting cancer. Kirsten Thompson, MD helps cancer patients and survivors with psycho oncology services at her practice in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California.
Psycho oncology is the psychiatric care of cancer patients, cancer survivors, and their families. This specialty focuses on understanding and treating the psychological, emotional, social, spiritual, and quality of life issues faced by those with cancer. It is part of a holistic approach to cancer treatment where the overall well being of a patient is cared for while medical steps are being taken to fight the disease. Unfortunately, all too often the emotional and mental issues associated with cancer are overlooked while the medical care providers focus on fighting the physical elements of the disease.
Dr. Thompson uses a wide variety of psychiatric medications to help people cope with the mood and mental functioning effects of cancer and of cancer treatment. She also works with patients and family members in periods of life transitions, to deal with the fears, anxiety, and grief that come with cancer. Psycho oncology treatment can help to alleviate emotional suffering and to confront and manage the many issues that arise during this difficult time. Without emotional support, people often struggle, feel isolated and alone in coping with significant issues, such as feeling vulnerable around their fear of cancer recurrence, their own mortality, and in dealing with complex questions around the quality and quantity of their lives.
Cancer can have a great effect on not only the patient’s ability to deal with the challenges of everyday life, such as marital relationships and difficulties or to family communications issues, but also to the stresses and fears experienced by the patient’s loved ones. Psycho oncology aims to preserve the mental and emotional well being of a cancer patient and his or her family to leave them better able to cope with the challenges associated with the disease.