The study concerning requirements as well as knowledge, acceptance and utilisation of psycho-oncological support offered for patients with colorectal tumours within the Tumour Registry Munich catchment area, which was awarded the distinction of "Best Abstract" at the the 2012 DGHO (German Society for Haematology and Oncology) Congress was accepted for publication by the professional magazine "Supportive Care of Cancer". Until further notice the article "Use of cancer-specific mental health resources - is there an urban-rural divide?" is available as on-line version at:
The study, which was carried out in collaboration with the Munich Tumour Registry, had the aim to systematically record the knowledge, acceptance and utilisation of psycho-social offers as well as the psycho-social care of patients with colorectal tumours and to compare urban and rural areas in this context. Parallel to the patient survey conducted by post, research was carried out on the Internet to find out about psycho-social support offers in the catchment area of the TRM (Tumour Registry Munich) and examined according to the urban-rural divide and geographical distribution. A total of 534 patients from 17 different regions as well as the city of Munich participated in the study. Just over half (52%) of the patients questioned stated that they did not know of any cancer-specific psycho-social offers. Slightly less than 20% of the patients questioned stated that they would accept help if an offer was available. In our random sample only 1.2% of the patients were making use of an offer in connection with psycho-social oncology at the time they were interviewed.
There was a significant urban-rural difference regarding the psycho-social care situation (p<0.001). Geographically speaking, there is an inadequate provision in the north-east and south-west regions of the TRM catchment area. Patients in rural areas stated significantly more frequently that they were able to talk to their family doctor about psycho-social aspects than patients in urban areas (p<0.008) and were better informed about psycho-social offers (p<0.002).
Due to the systematic documentation of psycho-social offers in the TRM catchment area specific evidence of the inadequate provision for patients in rural areas as well as areas with gaps in provisions, which had previously been a mere assumption, could be provided. The better doctor-patient relationship with "rural patients" indicates the decisive role of the responsible doctor regarding recognition of psycho-social matters as well as communication of information about such offers. Close collaboration between doctors, psycho-social service providers and patients seems essential for the holistic and satisfactory treatment of oncological patients. Evaluation of the longitudinal study is currently under way.
The study explored to what extent the strain, utilisation, knowledge and acceptance change throughout the course of time, as well as reasons for the low awareness of psycho-social support offers and for the low level of knowledge about & acceptance of offers in ocal areas.
For more information please contact: Ph.: 0049 (0)89/4400-74919 (Mrs Yvonne Hilpoltsteiner, Psycho-Oncology Study Secretariat at Medizinische Klinik III, Großhadern)