“I want to talk to someone”: The importance of psychosocial oncology

The comments section is closed.

  • Vera-D. says:

    It would be nice to get physical treatment for cancer. My neighbour had routine mammograms, all clear. 6 months after her last one, she finds a lump in her breast. Goes to get it checked out, told she is stage 4, nothing we can do for you here in Ontario, sent home to die. Instead she went to Europe for treatment, put herself into remission for 2.5 years. Only then would Cancer Care Ontario treat her here. Psychobabble would not have helped her. Access to the same treatment as she got in Europe would have.

  • Mike Fraumeni says:

    Perhaps if Cancer Care Ontario that is an entire agency of the Government of Ontario with a President, Vice-Presidents etc. is replaced with something along the lines of the Cardiac Care Network of Ontario – – millions of dollars in administrative funds can be saved and funnelled to providing enhanced psychosocial services and other direct patient services for cancer patients in this province.

  • Denyse Lynch says:

    As human beings comprising emotional, physical, mental, spiritual (whatever guides, inspires, motivates us to keep going) components, our VERY first human being component to activate is an emotion or a number of them – whether through the stimulus of communications, incidents, interactions, situations, circumstances, our “re-action” is ALWAYS emotional &/or mental. If you doubt this, how are you re-acting to “reading” this statement right now? You have already filtered it through your individual perspectives comprising your life experiences – your up-bringing, family dynamics, education, competencies, abilities, language, culture, religion, beliefs, careers, social circles, groups to which you belong and current age & physical/emotional/mental status etc..

    While medical practice has primarily focused on humans’ physical/sometimes mental components, patients & caregivers are now speaking out about the NEED to address their primary human being component – their emotions. Yes, we learn as we grow up to be aware of our emotions, to control them when we interact with others, in organizations, politics – which is why the growth of awareness & education re “emotional intelligence”. But not everyone can/will be or, has the ability or can develop the ability to be emotionally intelligent.

    Ester Sabet’s story of wanting someone to talk to is NOT surprising. I get it. Each of us, whether a patient or, caregiver of a loved one who experiences either a life threatening diagnosis, or, copes with decline in aging or, lives always having to manage a host of chronic conditions experience fears of the condition & how we will cope. Our emotions are activated & we begin thinking about “how this condition” will affect my life or, my caregiver’s life. And of course the ultimate fear is of death, of which we have tended to not discuss. What, who prepares us for all of this?

    We need someone to listen to us as we process our knowledge, fears & the what about’s or, what if’s of life as we encounter, try and prepare for the future? For some of us, depending on the severity/status of the physical condition, the ability of patient/caregiver to realize/acknowledge we are having an emotional reaction(s) and to acknowledge it is key. Someone to talk to, with, is or should be a given.

    This is the most important support for patients, their caregivers and which is now starting to be recognized. We must continue to advocate for and request this support.We can do this.


Wilson Kwong


Wilson Kwong is an Internal Medicine and Palliative Care specialist in Toronto and a passionate cinephile in his spare time.

Claude Lurette


Republish this article

Republish this article on your website under the creative commons licence.

Learn more