Meeting social needs can help alleviate distress and improve the health of women with cancer


Newswise – A new study published by Wiley at the start of going live CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, identified unmet social needs in women with gynecologic cancer that could be addressed to improve patient care and reduce disparities. For example, identifying patients who reported needing help reading hospital documents resulted in the use of a cancer care hub who provided patient education and support, facilitating doctor-patient communication and compliance with care recommendations.

The prospective study based on a survey conducted at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, a public safety net hospital near Los Angeles, included 135 women, many of whom were immigrants and living below the federal poverty line. Almost two-thirds (65.2%) of patients had at least one unmet social need (lack of a basic resource), and 37.8% of patients tested positive for psychological distress. Help in reading hospital documents was the most frequently reported need (30.4%). The need to talk to someone, social isolation, unstable housing, financial toxicity, food insecurity, and transportation difficulties were also common.

“While it is not in the power of health care systems or providers to change the social determinants of health, these data offer hope that we can implement programs aimed at reducing health disparities. health care by addressing unmet social needs, ”said senior author Abdulrahman K. Sinno, MD, of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “It is important that we focus on meeting social needs regardless of the social, economic and political inequalities that precede them, because those needs are ultimately downstream mediators of poor health outcomes.”

In addition to using cancer care navigators to help read hospital documents, other social needs such as food insecurity, unstable housing, and lack of transportation were addressed by putting patients in focus. contact with available resources. These resources include Meals on Wheels America, Project Angel Food, county-sponsored housing programs, and transportation assistance programs. In addition, for patients screened for distress positive, a social worker specializing in mental health and a psychiatric team were integrated into the clinic to remove barriers to mental health care.

“In the future, we plan to demonstrate the usefulness and cost-effectiveness of the algorithms of intervention of the social needs identified not only to improve quality of life and health outcomes, but also to reduce disparities in health care. health, ”said Dr Sinno.


About the journal
CANCER is a peer-reviewed publication of the American Cancer Society integrating scientific information from global sources for all oncology specialties. The objective of CANCER is to provide an interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of information between oncological disciplines concerned with the etiology, evolution and treatment of human cancer. CANCER is published on behalf of the American Cancer Society by Wiley and can be viewed online. Follow us on twitter @JournalCancer

About Wiley
Wiley is a global leader in research and education, unlocking human potential by enabling discovery, fueling education and shaping the workforce. For over 200 years, Wiley has fueled the global knowledge ecosystem. Today, our high-impact content, platforms and services help researchers, learners, institutions and businesses achieve their goals in an ever-changing world. Visit us on, Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Julio V. Miller

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