, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 201-213
Date: 11 Jun 2014

Clinical Considerations for Working with Patients with Advanced Cancer

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Advanced cancer is a life-limiting condition, but improvements in medical care are contributing to longer survival among some patients. As a result, it is likely that mental health professionals will be called upon to assist more patients with advanced cancer. The present paper reviews the psychological literature and from it draws clinical considerations for working with individuals affected by advanced cancer. It begins with a brief description of advanced cancer and the medical attributes of an advanced cancer diagnosis, and then catalogues salient medical, psychological, existential, and interpersonal challenges faced by this patient population. The review concludes with recommendations for treatment planning including an overview of some of the more recently tested and widely available interventions. It is hoped that this review will serve as a resource for professionals working with patients affected by advanced cancer.