Statement Of The Problem

Considerable medical progress has been made in treating the set of diseases known as cancer. Many forms are curable and there is a sustained decline in the overall death rate from cancer when one focuses on the impact on the total population.1 Because of improvements in medical science, however, more people are living with cancer than ever before. Although the extensive medical needs of such patients may be well attended to, psychosocial and emotional needs are often overlooked.2 Almost every aspect of one's life can be affected, as cancer engenders many stressors and can lead to significantly compromised quality of life.3 Even for people who historically have coped well with major negative life events, cancer and its treatment greatly increases the stressful nature of even routine daily tasks. Weisman and Worden decades ago first referred to this situation for cancer patients as an "existential plight," where one's very existence may be endangered.4 Recognizably, not every individual diagnosed with cancer will experience a plethora of problems, but most patients do report significant difficulties.

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