Highlights from the 14th Annual Conference of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS), February 2017
In mid-February, I attended and presented at the 14th Annual Conference of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) in Orlando, FL. Attendees were an interprofessional group of 400+ physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, and other providers interested in the psychosocial care of patients with cancer – from 44 states and 33 countries.
The theme of the conference was, “Across the Lifespan: Achieving Equity in Psychosocial Oncology from Pediatrics to Geriatrics,” and the conference was organized into pediatric/adolescent and young adult (AYA), adult, and geriatric sessions and tracks.
Some highlights of what I heard discussed at the conference:
- In the opening plenary session, Dr. Steve Cole explained “how the brain talks to cancer” through neural regulation, discussing how psychosocial interventions with patients might change the molecular genetics of tumor cells.
- The term ‘metavivorship’ was used when describing the unique life experiences of young women with metastatic breast cancer.
- Providers need to be aware of how care delivery changes when a patient turns 18 years old (legal age) during cancer treatment.
- Some geriatric patients with cancer demonstrate physical resilience and may also psychologically cope better than younger patients.
- The Pediatric Psychosocial Standards of Care, published in Dec 2015, are in the process of being endorsed by multiple professional groups and are beginning to be implemented in pediatric care settings across the country.
- In one pilot study, the Internet was used to recruit young adults with advanced cancer for participation in a study that delivered a gratitude intervention.
- The treatment of severe anxiety, depression, and delirium in children with complex medical disorders is limited because of the adverse effects of many psycho-pharmacologic agents.
- In the closing plenary session, Dr. Steve Bonanno shared evidence from multiple studies using latent growth mixture modeling analyses that roughly two thirds of us show a resilient response after a diversity of aversive circumstances, such as trauma, divorce, a heart attack, stroke, or a cancer diagnosis.
Jeanne M. Erickson, PhD, RN, AOCN
Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Photo (from left to right):
Lauri Linder, PhD, APRN, CPON
Jeanne Erickson, PhD, RN, AOCN
Nancy Woods, PhD, RN, FAAN
Kristin Stegenga, PhD, RN, CPON