The subject area (‘Psychosocial issues in cancer management’) is vast, and there is therefore a need to be selective about the subject matter covered in the module. The areas selected are aspects of care and management that are not only traditionally challenging for patients, carers and health professionals alike, and/or have a significant bearing on outcomes, but also are representative of all stages of the ‘cancer journey’. There is inevitably considerable overlap between the topics (see below) with a particular emphasis on ‘communication’. Effective and sensitive communication lies at the very heart of good clinical care, and poor communication may have an adverse influence on outcomes. It is also the root of a significant proportion of complaints made against health professionals, as well as the source of errors and mistakes.
The overall aim of the module is to explore some of the psychological, social and organisational factors that influence the responses to, and the management and outcomes of cancer, from the perspectives of the patient, their family or carers, and the health professionals involved in their care.