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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Leslie Darmofal ('16-'17)

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Capstone ProjectLeslie Darmofal Photo

Psychological Distress: Transitioning Patients from Survivorship to New Normal

The continuity of care support for patients and their families during cancer recovery is a population health issue. Greater numbers of people are living as cancer survivors, and may need different types of support and services than are offered for patients newly diagnosed with cancer. The purpose of this research is to see what types of psychological distress occur longitudinally in cancer survivorship and facilitate better communication between patient and provider. This research may allow stronger advocacy for long-term support and services in cancer survivorship. The Psychological Distress Thermometer (National Comprehensive Cancer Network), was a key instrument to assist in gauging patient’s perception of psychological distress at the time of their provider appointment. Patients with a prior cancer diagnosis were asked to participate and gauge their level of psychological distress by filling out the psychological distress tool and demographic information related to their cancer, and handing it to their provider. The use of cluster sampling statistics to analyze how patients perceived their coping and distress may give understanding of links between types of survivorship support needed for specific cancers at intervals over time. This research allowed nurses and providers to better understand what types of distress cancer survivors are experiencing longitudinally, and facilitate advocacy.