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American Psychological Oncology Society

by APOS staff

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The Institute of Medicine report Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs concludes that it is not possible to deliver quality cancer care without addressing psychosocial health needs. A growing body of scientific evidence shows that psychological and social problems created or exacerbated by cancer can be effectively addressed with a number of services and interventions.

As a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to the psychosocial and supportive care of people with cancer and their families, the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) serves as an important link between professionals and patient advocates. Members include physicians, mental health professionals, social workers, nurses, clergy, and patient advocates, among others, dedicated to improving psychosocial care in the oncology setting. Formed in 1986, the overarching goal of this organization is to advance the science and practice of psychosocial care for people with cancer and their families.

The APOS Toll-free Helpline provides local referrals to professionals skilled in treating cancer-related distress.

The vision of APOS is of a nation that no longer suffers from unmet psychosocial needs related to cancer. One of the programs APOS offers in pursuit of that vision is the APOS Toll-free Helpline. This service provides local referrals for people with cancer and their caregivers to professionals skilled in treating cancer-related distress.

The upcoming APOS 8th Annual Conference, Quality Cancer Care Across the Lifespan: Psychosocial Research and Practice Across Disciplines, will be held February 17–19, 2011, in Anaheim, CA. The APOS conference provides an ideal forum to bring together many disciplines conducting state-of-the-art research and clinical work in the area of psychosocial oncology to encourage transdisciplinary education and collaboration.

In addition to the conference, APOS offers online educational webcasts on topics such as distress management, cancer basics, and the psychosocial aspects of cancer survivorship.

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To request a confidential referral, call (866) APOS-4-HELP (866-276-7443). Calls are accepted 24 hours a day through a voice-mail system and then handled by trained staff members who have access to a national directory of community mental health resources. Helpline inquiries will normally be returned within 24 to 48 hours. For more information about the American Psychosocial Oncology Society, visit

This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, November/December 2010.