How does cancer affect a person? The obvious answer is the physical impact of the disease on the body, which is in turn the most obvious thing to treat.
But the psychological impacts of cancer go beyond the simple discovery and excision of a tumour.
They include everything from the individual behaviours that may have contributed to cancer - such as a patient's decision to smoke tobacco - to the treatment decisions made by the doctor, or the restrictions imposed by the healthcare setting.
Cancer care encompasses an extended series of complex decisions involving doctors and patients. It is strongly influenced not only by the health status and psychological wellbeing of patients, but also by health systems and policies.
ecancer's latest Special Issue tackles the complex topic of psycho-oncology - the psychological, behavioural, ethical and social aspects of cancer.
Cancer experts from around the world have collaborated to produce a range of perspectives on psycho-oncology, creating a rich resource with lessons for every setting.
These eight articles update healthcare providers on some of the key considerations of psycho-oncology, ranging from identifying and supporting the emotional needs of cancer patients, to designing care surveys that elicit honest responses.
The Special Issue also touches on specific topics, such as the psychological needs of children with cancer, the role of psychology in the health policies surrounding risky behaviours, and the ethical issues of cancer care in resource-poor settings.
This collection was jointly curated by guest editors Prof Gabriella Pravettoni of the European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy, and Dr Soumitra Datta of the Tata Medical Centre, Kolkata, India. The guest editors hope to highlight some of the existing gaps in cancer care and showcase advancements from around the world, with the intention of improving clinical practice.
Cancer affects emotions, which can affect decisions, which can affect outcomes. Increasingly, to provide care to an individual, healthcare providers must look at the whole system around cancer - a process that may seem overwhelming. This Special Issue has been designed as the perfect place to start.