Mental health providers working in oncology encounter a broad spectrum of patients and situations. From innumerable forms of disease at various stages of progression, to the wide range of medication side effects and varying prognoses, cancer treatment is incredibly complex. And practitioners — like the patients they serve — can be easily overwhelmed.

Psychological Treatment of Patients With Cancer offers a succinct but comprehensive guide to psycho-oncological practice.

Designed to build a foundation of knowledge that tackles the depth and breadth of the field, this volume includes a range of psychological interventions aimed at helping patients cope with cancer treatment. Chapters describe assessment and treatment of common problems including depression, anxiety, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, as well as broader themes in cancer care, including the impact on families.

Brief, easy to digest, and highly approachable, this is a must-have resource for practitioners and advanced graduate students in the field of psycho-oncology.

The Clinical Health Psychology Series is designed to provide a comprehensive but concise overview of practice in specific areas, including integrated primary care, cardiology, oncology, and more. Each book in the series provides broad coverage of the topic and is intended specifically for mental and behavioral health professionals who are new to that field.

Table of Contents

Series Foreword


I. An Overview of Psychosocial Oncology

  1. An Overview of Cancer for the Mental Health Professional
  2. Etiology and Sociocultural Factors Related to Cancer
  3. Standard Medical Treatments for Cancer and Patient Decision Making

II. Psychological Assessment and Interventions for Common Comorbid Problems

  1. Assessment and Treatment of Depression
  2. Assessment and Treatment of Anxiety
  3. Sleep Dysregulation and Fatigue
  4. Sexual Dysfunction and Negative Body Image
  5. Impact of Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment on the Family, and the Role of Social Support
  6. Posttreatment Psychological Sequelae
  7. Existential Themes in Cancer Care
  8. Future Directions in Practice and Clinician Self-Care



About the Author

Author Bio

Ellen A. Dornelas, PhD, is the director for cancer clinical research at Hartford Healthcare Cancer Institute in Connecticut and associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

Dr. Dornelas received her degree in health psychology from Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University, New York, NY. She has focused her career on the integration of practice and research in clinical health psychology.

Dr. Dornelas is recognized for her expertise in treating people with heart disease as well as cancer. She has supervised and mentored students for more than two decades.

Dr. Dornelas has authored multiple books and journal articles and is a featured guest expert on APA's Psychotherapy Video Series. She is a Fellow in APA Division 29 (Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy) and a practicing psychotherapist.

Reviews & Awards

Offers a succinct but comprehensive guide to psycho-oncological practice.
Midwest Book Review

Beginning with a practitioner-friendly overview of cancer risk, types of cancer, and common forms of treatment and side effects, this book provides a primer on patients' experiences and the language needed to interact with the medical team. Common psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders are covered, with a focus on their interaction with the course of cancer and suggested interventions to address these symptoms. Evidence-based interventions and resources are presented to operationalize the suggestions provided.
—Lynne Padgett, PhD
American Cancer Society, Inc., Atlanta, GA

There are nearly 2 million patients diagnosed with cancer each year and 20 million cancer survivors in America today. Oncologists are increasingly aware of the need for psychosocial support of patients with cancer and their families. Dornelas has provided a comprehensive introduction into the cancer patient's world that will prove to be a vital resource for those drawn to working in this underserved but much-needed area.
—Peter Paul Yu, MD, FACP, FASCO
Physician-in-Chief, Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, Hartford, CT