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Screening and Assessment for Distress 

Screening and Assessment for Distress
Screening and Assessment for Distress
Psycho-Oncology (3 ed.)

Alex J. Mitchell


Distress is a common and clinically relevant complication of cancer, which can occur at any time on the patient pathway. Distress is often overlooked in clinical practice yet it can be easily and accurately measured using a number of freely available tools. Several organizations have made recommendations for assessment of distress but despite the potential benefits uptake has been slow. Screening is designed to quickly ascertain which individuals in a large population need further assessment. The evidence base for distress screening needs to be interpreted with care. Screening research is divided into studies of diagnostic validity and studies involving screening implementation. One brief tool, the Distress Thermometer (DT), and one longer tool, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), have been evaluated in studies in more than one center. Multidomain tools such as the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) and the Emotion Thermometer are currently under evaluation in implementation studies.

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