Cancer Support Community Data Shows Positive Results Following Screening for Cancer-Related Distress

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Findings presented at the March 2013 Annual Meeting of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

Early diagnosis of and intervention for distress is related to better health outcomes and quality of life for people with cancer.

The Research and Training Institute of the Cancer Support Community (CSC) released data today showing a significant decrease in emotional distress for people living with cancer who are screened with CSC's distress screening program, CancerSupportSource, and are linked to personalized resources.

“Early diagnosis of and intervention for distress is related to better health outcomes and quality of life for people with cancer,” says Joanne Buzaglo, PhD, Vice President of the Cancer Support Community's Research and Training Institute. “We are thrilled to demonstrate that the use of CancerSupportSource aided in the significant reduction of patients’ levels of distress within 30-45 days of initial screening.”

CancerSupportSource (CSS) is a comprehensive screening program that includes both a
25-question tool to help identify priority areas in which a patient feels most worried as well as a full suite of community-based resources, customized to help individuals manage their concerns. Patients in the study who underwent screening had a 10% decrease in overall distress with a 25% reduction in the number of concerns ranked as moderate or very serious.

Data presented at the meeting showed that CSS is able to identify patients at risk for clinical depression with a high degree of certainty—equivalent to that of the Distress Thermometer, another cancer distress measurement tool. Additional work is ongoing at the Research and Training Institute to further target the early diagnosis of depression and to evaluate the impact of distress screening and follow-up on the cost of the cancer experience.

The combined findings support the recommendation of the 2008 Institute of Medicine report, Cancer Care for the Whole Patient, that social and emotional support must be a part of the standard for comprehensive, quality cancer care and that every person with cancer should be screened for distress.

According to Christopher Gayer, PhD, director at the RTI, “The data is exciting because it supports the development and implementation of innovative approaches to help patients before their distress reaches a level that might create even more disruption in their treatment, quality of life or overall activities of daily living.”

For more information about distress screening or CancerSupportSource, please visit http://www.cancersupportcommunity.org/cancersupportsource.

About CancerSupportSource:
CancerSupportSource is the first comprehensive distress screening program to integrate screening, referral and follow-up care developed with the community in mind. CancerSupportSource is a comprehensive program that not only leverages technology to screen patients for social and emotional concerns; it provides referral and follow-up care personalized for each individual. Built on a HL7 interface, CSS is web-based and has the ability to interface with electronic medical record systems. For more information about CancerSupportSource, visit http://www.cancersupportcommunity.org/cancersupportsource.

About the Cancer Support Community:
The mission of the Cancer Support Community (CSC) is to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community. In 2009, The Wellness Community and Gilda’s Club joined forces to become the Cancer Support Community. The combined organization, with more than 50 years of collective experience, provides the highest quality social and emotional support for people impacted by cancer through a network of over 50 licensed affiliates, more than 100 satellite locations and a vibrant online community, touching more than one million people each year.

Backed by evidence that the best cancer care includes social and emotional support, the Cancer Support Community offers these services free of charge to men, women and children with any type or stage of cancer and to their loved ones. As the largest, professionally led nonprofit network of cancer support worldwide, the Cancer Support Community delivers a comprehensive menu of personalized and essential services including support groups, educational workshops, exercise, art and nutrition classes and social activities for the entire family. In 2011, CSC delivered more than $40 million in free services to patients and families. The Cancer Support Community is advancing the innovations that are becoming the standard in complete cancer care. So that no one faces cancer alone®.

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Linda House
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