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Toolbox to help healthcare providers ease traumatic stresses of cancer patients, families

University of Delaware

Cancer often brings with it layers of anxiety, and even depression.


Last week’s first-ever Delaware Cancer Moonshot Summit delved into multiple categories - including the connection between behavioral science and cancer research.


Dr. Anne Kazak, psychologist and Co-Director of the Nemours Center for Healthcare Delivery Science at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, says healthcare providers need to do their part to help lessen the psychological burdens patients often face following a cancer diagnosis.


“What we believe is that integrating behavioral care into the medical setting is the way to go, doing everything we can to lessen the psychological impacts right from the outset," Kazak said.


Kazak’s team and others have created an online toolbox for healthcare providers to better educate them about toll that traumatic stress – often associated with cancer – can take on children, individuals and families.


Included in the toolbox are downloadable patient handouts, basic information on how to identify trauma and self-care tips for providers.

"We've come to understand cancer as a potentially traumatic event," Kazak said.


Other resources include different therapies such as a three-session program for family members of children recently diagnosed with cancer called the Surviving Cancer Intervention Program.


The toolbox can be found online at


Kazak has also been helping implement the Psychological Assessment Tool –  or PAT - to help screen cancer patients for additional mental health needs.


She’s been working on a Spanish version of the PAT to help families at risk for health disparities related to language and demographics.




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