With cancer incidence increasing over time, attention to the burden of related psychiatric and psychosocial consequences of the disease and treatment is a major topic for both cancer patients and their caregivers. Among cancer patients, psychiatric (e.g. adjustment, anxiety, depressive disorders) and neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g. cognitive disorders secondary to treatment, delirium) have been shown to affect an average of 30-35% patients, with differences according to stage and type of cancer. Also other psychosocial syndromes (e.g. demoralization, health anxiety, irritable mood) not taken into account in usual nosological systems should be considered for their impact on the patient's quality-of-life. Also, it has been repeatedly reported that psychological distress reverberates substantially throughout the nuclear family, and that a family approach is necessary in cancer care, with the caregiver-patient dyad as a unit to be the focus and direction of assessment and intervention. In this review the most significant psychosocial disorders causing burden for cancer patients and their caregivers are examined, and the main methods of assessment for more proper referral and treatment are summarized.
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