Caring for someone with cancer and severe mental illness
evidence and practice    

Caring for someone with cancer and severe mental illness

Michael Nash Assistant professor mental health nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

Why you should read this article
  • To learn about the signs and symptoms of severe mental illness

  • To recognise how severe mental illness may affect a person’s ability to participate in cancer treatment

  • To develop strategies for optimal cancer care for people with severe mental illness

People with severe mental illness often have suboptimal physical health and experience a wide range of comorbidities, including cancer, that affect health outcomes. Cancer nurses may encounter patients with mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, but these conditions often arise as a reaction to a cancer diagnosis, whereas severe mental illness often predates a cancer diagnosis. The signs and symptoms of severe mental illness can make it harder for people to engage in their cancer care, which can present complex challenges for cancer nurses. This article explores cancer care in relation to severe mental illness and examines some important signs and symptoms and how they may affect cancer care. The article also considers ways in which cancer nurses can support person-centred cancer care for people with severe mental illness.

Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2021.e1756

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

nashmi@tcd.ie

Conflict of interest

None declared

Nash M (2021) Caring for someone with cancer and severe mental illness. Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2021.e1756

Published online: 22 February 2021

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