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Progress in psycho-oncology with special reference to developing countries

Murthy, Rangaswamy S.a; Alexander, Annieb,c

doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000534

Purpose of review Psycho-oncology has completed 25 years. There is growing recognition of the psychosocial needs of persons living with cancer and the role of sociocultural factors in addressing the needs. This review addresses the research in developing countries relating to distress associated with living with cancer and psychosocial care.

Recent findings There is growing recognition of the emotional needs, understanding of the sociocultural aspects of the emotional responses of persons, caregivers, role of resilience and posttraumatic growth and spirituality in cancer care. Psychosocial aspects of cancer are largely influenced by social, economic, cultural, religious and health systems. A number of innovative approaches to care like use of yoga, financial and material support and involvement of caregivers have been implemented. A positive development is the increasing professional attention to document and develop innovative care programmes.

Summary A significant proportion of the general population are living with cancer. There are significant psychosocial needs largely influenced by social, economic, cultural, religious aspects of the communities. There are a wide range of interventions from self-care to professional care to address the needs. In developing countries, there is need for longitudinal studies of psycho-social experiences, develop interventions that are culturally appropriate, along with enhanced use of information technology along with evaluation of interventions.

aDepartment of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS)

bDivision of Molecular Medicine, St John's Research Institute

cDepartment of Psychology, Christ (Deemed to be University), Bengaluru, India

Correspondence to Rangaswamy S. Murthy, Professor of Psychiatry (Retd), Formerly of National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru 560029, India. Tel: +91 9448697690; e-mail:

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