A cancer diagnosis, treatment and the recovery process can create a lot of emotional distress on both a patient and their caregivers. Some common stress symptoms cancer patients may experience are loneliness and isolation, anger, irritability, panic, anxiety, sleep problems, pain, and low adherence to treatments.
Approximately one out of four cancer patients experience depression during their illness and recovery. To help, the Stephenson Cancer Center provides Distress Management Services which includes counseling, consultation, relaxation training, and medication management.
The distress management team has specialized knowledge on how cancer impacts a person’s body and quality of life. In addition, they teach and encourage self-care practices such as mindfulness, journaling, and meditation. Those interested can also participate in one of the newest activities offered, Wellness Wednesdays. This happens the first Wednesday of every month from 12:15-12:45 pm in the Spirit of the Sanctuary on the first floor of the Stephenson Cancer Center and is open to anyone.
Rachel Funk-Lawler, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She is a licensed psychologist and health services provider. She works clinically with adults diagnosed with cancer and their caregivers to address adjustment concerns and such things as grief, anxiety, and depression, in response to illness and recovery.
Jedidiah J. Perdue, MD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Oklahoma’s Health Sciences Center. Dr. Perdue has extensive experience in treating distress arising in the setting of medical illness, and he utilizes both pharmacologic and therapy-related interventions in optimizing emotional and behavioral well-being.
Distress Management Services is part of the Supportive Care Clinic. The supportive care mission is to restore and maintain the quality of life for people living with cancer and their families through the interdisciplinary delivery of expert symptom management, palliative care, health promotion, and prevention interventions for the person diagnosed with cancer.
The clinic is located on the second floor of the Stephenson Cancer Center. More information can also be found by calling (405) 271-4385 or visiting stephensoncancercenter.org/coping.