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Substance Use Disorders 

Substance Use Disorders
Substance Use Disorders
Psycho-Oncology (3 ed.)

Kenneth L. Kirsh

, Adam Rzetelny

, and Steven D. Passik


All aspects of cancer care can be affected by the presence of a substance use disorder (SUD). Unchecked drug or alcohol abuse can cause non-adherence to potentially life-saving cancer treatments, threatening healthcare efforts from diagnosis to palliative care. For psycho-oncologists working outside a tertiary care academic center, the frequency with which they will be confronted with SUDs is shockingly high, due to the high base rate of these disorders in this population, which is more reflective of the population as a whole. If one considers that substance use can be a risk factor for cancer, one would expect substance abusers to be over-, not under-represented in the oncology population. Unfortunately, there is an enormous gap between the prevalence of these problems and the expertise of healthcare practitioners. This chapter explores the prevalence of SUDs in the general and older populations and describes their diagnosis and management in the psycho-oncology setting.

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