An evolving field bridging psychology and oncology, which formally studies the relationship of the psyche to malignancy. Integral to psycho-oncology are the elements that affect a person’s adaptation to cancer, which occur in sociocultural, medical, and individual contexts. The field attempts to sway the course of advanced and/or metastatic cancer by promoting a positive attitude in cancer patients; “soft” data suggest that it might help.
It is difficult to perform formal studies, given the often anecdotal nature of the data; in one study of patients with metastatic breast cancer, those undergoing psychotherapy lived 19 months longer, and had less anxiety and pain than the control group.
Synonym Psychosocial oncology