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Objectives: This study aimed to examine the effect of using supportive interview and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for stress management in patients with cancer and understand the psychological issues in this group. In addition, it aimed to study the roles of and issues faced by nurses in the psycho-oncology field.
Methods: The study was conducted between August 2010 and September 2011 at University hospitals in Tokyo. Patients with cancer (n = 20), currently undergoing treatment, were interviewed for approximately 60 min. Interviews were conducted by a certified nurse specialist (CNS) in psychiatric mental health nursing, who employed supportive psychological techniques and CBT cognitive behavioral therapy to examine individual patient’s psychological problems and stresses. Each patient was individually interviewed on three occasions over two months. We measured changes in anxiety, depression, self-efficacy, and current quality of life (QOL) before and after the interviews.
Results: In total 15 patients were evaluated; 5 patients were excluded because of clinical deterioration. The most common issue during the supportive interview was anxiety over treatment and cancer recurrence, reported in 8 patients (66.7%). In addition, concerns over solving problems associated with new medical treatments were frequently reported.
Conclusion: This study suggests that supportive interviews and those using CBT cognitive behavioral therapy conducted by a CNS certified nurse specialist in psychiatric mental health nursing were effective, particularly in improving anxiety, depression, and the QOL quality of life in patients with cancer. In the area of psycho-oncology, cancer-specific psychological needs should be understood and incorporated into nursing practice to improve overall psychological care and to help build nurses’ skills.