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psycho-oncologyAn evolving field, which overlaps psychology and oncology, that formally studies the relationship of the psyche to malignancy. Integral to psycho-oncology are the elements that affect a person’s adaptation to cancer, which occur in sociocultural, medical and individual contexts.
Psycho-oncology attempts to sway the course of advanced and/or metastatic cancer by promoting a positive attitude in cancer patients; soft data suggest that it might be beneficial, though it is difficult to perform formal studies given the often anecdotal nature of the data. In one study of patients with metastatic breast cancer, those undergoing psychotherapy lived 19 months longer, and they had less anxiety and pain than the control group.