2015 年 27 巻 Special_issue 号 p. 209-216
Research in psycho-oncology has focused on how cancer affects the mental condition of cancer patients, their families, and medical staff, and how the mind and behavior affect the progression of cancer. Psycho-oncology research has developed readily since the 1980s, to address the psychological distress of cancer patients by supporting them psychologically. Research on psychological distress of cancer patients during the clinical course of the disease has identified vague anxieties related to uncertainty. However, each cancer patient is unique in how they experience psychological distress, and therefore, research has focused on the effects of psychological characteristics as factors that influence individual differences. Studies of risk factors for psychological distress in breast cancer patients have identified psychological characteristics, such as the tendency to suppress emotions, trait anxiety, life stress experiences, and coping, as risk factors. Several forms of psychotherapy are available for cancer patients, including psychotherapy for emotional suppression, problem-solving therapy, relaxation, and group therapy. To date, the efficacy of psychotherapy for cancer patients has been investigated through randomized trials mostly in Western countries. It is hoped that such studies would be undertaken in Japan in the near future.