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23

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

:

Distress, Version 1.2017

The cause of distress greatly differs

across people. In turn, the help for

distress varies based on need. Part 3 is

an overview of the common types of help

for distress among people with cancer.

Cancer education

Having cancer is very stressful. While absorbing the

fact that you have cancer, you have to learn about

tests and treatments. This information is important,

as you will be deciding a treatment plan with your

doctor. After treatment, you may have more doctor’s

visits and tests for a long time.

Learning about cancer and its treatment may reduce

your distress. During your cancer journey, your

cancer care team will likely use many medical words.

Most of these words may be new to you, and it may

seem like a lot to learn. Don’t be shy to ask your

team to explain a word or phrase that you do not

understand.

There are many resources to help you learn about

cancer. Your cancer center may have an information

center that can provide information. Some cancer

centers have a patient navigator program. Patient

navigators sometimes help people learn more about

cancer.

NCCN has a growing library of patient resources.

This library includes the

NCCN G

uidelines for

Patients

®

and the

NCCN Quick Guide™

. These

resources are a good starting point from which to

learn the best options for cancer care. Your cancer

care team can provide more information to help you

make treatment decisions. Visit

NCCN.org/patients

for resources on cancer screening, cancer treatment,

and supportive care.

Chaplaincy care

Spirituality or religion is important to many people.

People use spiritual and religious resources to cope

with cancer. Furthermore, there is a link between

health and spirituality and religion. Data from

multiple studies showed that spirituality and religion

are related to better mental health. Also, attending

religious services was related to fewer deaths from

any cause including cancer.

Many people with cancer have spiritual needs. A

chaplain can help you whether you have strong

beliefs, different beliefs, conflicted beliefs, or no

beliefs. Chaplains provide help for grief, guilt, and

hopelessness. They can also address concerns

about treatment, death, the afterlife, the Divine,

and the meaning and purpose of life. You may

want a chaplain to help you talk with your religious

community, family, or treatment team.

Chaplains provide a range of services. They provide

spiritual counseling. Your chaplain will listen to

your concerns and provide advice and guidance as

needed. You may receive more guidance or comfort

through reading. Your chaplain may suggest a good

reading resource to you.

Many people say prayer is a major help with dealing

with cancer. Your chaplain can pray with you and

pray on your behalf. Likewise, he or she can help get

your ritual needs met. Your chaplain may be able to

perform a ritual such as communion (Eucharist). If

not, he or she can contact clergy of your faith.

Chaplains can serve as a contact between you and

others. If you want, your chaplain can help you talk

with your faith community. If you are not a member

somewhere, your chaplain can help you connect with

a local community.

3

What help is there?

Cancer education

|

Chaplaincy care