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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Distress, Version 1.2017


How distressed are you?

Role of cancer team

Role of cancer team

Learning that you have cancer and all the events that

follow is a difficult time. Distress is a normal reaction

and is to be expected. Distress screening tools can

be used by your cancer care team to make a plan to

meet your needs.

Your cancer care team can monitor your distress

level. They can screen you for distress at future

visits. They can also alert you of times when being

distressed is more likely.

Your cancer care team can help to reduce your

distress. Your team can manage expected distress

symptoms, such as:



Fear, worry, and uncertainty about the future,



Concerns about cancer,



Sadness about loss of health,



Poor sleep, appetite, and concentration,



Frequent thoughts of illness, treatment, side

effects, or death; and



Concerns about social roles (eg, mother, father,


Your team can help by giving you information on

cancer. They can also help by preventing gaps in

care between health care providers. Some cancer

centers have patient navigators that will guide you

through the health care system. Another way your

cancer team can help is to tell you about resources

in your cancer center and community. They may refer

you to an expert in distress.

On a daily basis I come across patients

who are being absolutely drained of

the resources they need.

–Dr. Fahd