When faced with a cancer diagnosis, patients typically focus on their physical health, and how to best treat and beat cancer. But the diagnosis also has an impact on people’s mental health. A Delaware non-profit is expanding its service to address that aspect of cancer.
The Newark-based national telephone helpline Cancer Care Connection is now offering in-person mental health counseling for cancer patients and their families.
Staff counselor Carol Deputy says people who have or have had cancer often deal with a wide range of emotions. “Sometimes they spend more time worrying than they would like to, about all of the possibilities that are lying before them,” said Deputy. “They feel overwhelmed, and anxiety and depression can kick in very quickly.”
Deputy says having counselors who are experts in the field of cancer is important because it means counselor and patient speak the same language.
“An oncology social worker is equipped in a way that a patient doesn’t have to spend time explaining all of the issues that are unique to cancer treatment.”
Deputy says comprehensive cancer centers or big hospitals often offer such counseling in house, but many Delaware patients are treated in community hospitals that do not offer this service. Her organization receives state and federal funding as well as donations, and is able to offer services on a sliding scale basis.