Nav: Home

Treating cancer, mental health neglect in rural America

December 08, 2016

Jennifer Lycette, M.D., understands the importance of treating patients with cancer at home in their in rural communities. It allows them to spend more time with their families and to focus on their treatment and recovery, not traveling.

Lycette and other physicians who treat these patients are keenly aware of the numerous challenges they encounter. Consequently, they are strongly committed to ensuring rural patients have access to the latest targeted therapies and other cutting-edge treatment options.

When faced with a breast cancer patient with underlying mental illness who was reluctant to try standard cancer treatments, Lycette asked herself an important question: "What good were targeted therapies when her coexisting mental illness prevented her from taking them?"

Lycette outlines this and other concerns while sharing one patient's profound struggle in a New England Journal of Medicine "Perspective" paper published today titled, "Neglected -- Cancer Care and Mental Health in Rural America."

An oncologist with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Lycette treats patients in the coastal community of Astoria, Oregon. Astoria, like many other rural settings in the United States, has a severe shortage of psychiatric health care providers. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 4,000 Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas, defined as having less than one psychiatrist per 30,000 people, were identified in the United States in 2016. In reviewing what was available for the citizens of Clatsop County, of which the city of Astoria is a part, she found a disappointing zero psychiatrists per 100,000 people.

Lycette's recounting of this patient's experience demonstrates the terrible impacts of insufficient or nonexistent psychiatric care. In her commentary, Lycette notes her inability to reach her patient with mental illness marked " ... the saddest final chapter in the devastating story of untreated mental illness, the true neglect."
-end-
Lycette has served as the Columbia Memorial Hospital/OHSU Cancer Care Center's medical director for more than three years through the CMH/OHSU Knight Cancer Collaborative. In 2015, the collaborative, which has the goal to provide rural oncology care, announced the development of an 18,000 square-foot comprehensive cancer treatment center and specialty clinic in Astoria, scheduled to open in October 2017.

About the Knight Cancer Institute

The Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University is a pioneer in the field of precision cancer medicine. The institute's director, Brian Druker, M.D., helped prove it was possible to shut down just the cells that enable cancer to grow. This breakthrough has made once-fatal forms of the disease manageable and transformed how cancer is treated. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center between Sacramento and Seattle - an honor earned only by the nation's top cancer centers. It is headquarters for one of the National Cancer Institute's largest research collaboratives, SWOG, in addition to offering the latest treatments and technologies as well as hundreds of research studies and clinical trials. For additional information on the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute visit http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/cancer or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Oregon Health & Science University

Related Cancer Articles:

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.
Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
Health indicators for newborns of breast cancer survivors may vary by cancer type
In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed health indicators for children born to young breast cancer survivors in North Carolina.
Few women with history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer take a recommended genetic test
More than 80 percent of women living with a history of breast or ovarian cancer at high-risk of having a gene mutation have never taken the test that can detect it.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.