[Psychooncological care for breast cancer patients in hospitals and in the outpatient sector]

Gesundheitswesen. 2010 Oct;72(10):700-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0029-1242771. Epub 2010 Jan 4.
[Article in German]


Background: Psycho-oncological care is nowadays an integral part of patient-oriented health care in oncology. Psycho-oncological services are considered in the formulation of guidelines and the existence of such services is a precondition for the certification of organ centres.

Methods: For a status quo analysis of psycho-oncological health-care services for breast cancer patients in inpatient and outpatient care, 101 hospitals (inpatient care) and 124 health-care professionals in outpatient psycho-oncological services were questioned by mail.

Results: Psycho-oncological care in the hospital setting is mainly carried out by psychologists and physicians. 2-100% (median: 32.5%) of breast cancer patients receive psycho-oncological treatment. The proportion of psycho-oncological treatment performed by psychologists is higher in bigger hospitals and in hospitals which are part of a breast centre. In outpatient care, psycho-oncological treatment is mainly carried out by psychologists. Most of the interventions are individual therapy sessions (group therapy: median 20%). Most of the participants in the outpatient sector are psychodynamic (43%) or behavioural (23%) therapists, 40% report other therapeutic backgrounds.

Conclusion: Both the inpatient and the outpatient sectors show a high heterogeneity in psycho-oncological care. The results for the inpatient setting indicate increasing professionalisation and orientation towards certification criteria and treatment guidelines. The heterogeneity in outpatient psycho-oncological care can be interpreted as desirable diversity which allows for the consideration of the varying needs of patients with different diagnoses, disease stages, and treatments.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Curriculum
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Health Facility Size
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Mentors
  • Patient Care Team / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Psychotherapy / education
  • Psychotherapy / methods
  • Psychotherapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Utilization Review / statistics & numerical data