Course Overview


This Course examines the psychosocial effects that can accompany a cancer diagnosis, and encourages health professionals to provide psychosocial support for patients and their loved ones who are experiencing the disease.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify risk factors for distress and common concerns associated with a cancer diagnosis
  • Explain the benefits of psychosocial support
  • Describe the role of the nurse and other sources of support
  • List different types of psychosocial support strategies and how they might be applied

Topics include:

  • Responses to a cancer diagnosis
  • Risk factors for distress
  • Common concerns associated with a cancer diagnosis
  • The role of health professionals in providing psychosocial support
  • Skills for health professionals to provide psychosocial support

Target audience

All healthcare professionals who care for people diagnosed with cancer and their loved ones, both in their professional, and personal lives.


Further understanding of the impact of a diagnosis of cancer and common concerns that may arise across the treatment continuum.


A cancer diagnosis can have a significant impact on a patient, their family, and loved ones, and can raise a number of psychosocial concerns. Concerns may be associated with dealing with treatment, managing emotional responses, the impact on others, and living with uncertainty associated with receiving a life-threatening diagnosis. Specific concerns may arise at different phases of the care continuum: diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, recurrence and end of life. Risk factors have been identified for psychological distress, and it has been shown that routine distress screening should be incorporated into practice to identify these risks. Psychosocial support has been shown to minimise the impact of this disease and improve quality of life; it has numerous benefits and may be offered in a variety of ways. Health professionals, especially nurses, are in a unique position to provide this support and really make a difference to how their patient copes with their disease. There are many facets to providing psychosocial support, and multiple strategies that nurses are able to implement in order to best support their patient and others through their experience with cancer.

Health professionals in Australia that are registered with AHPRA are required to obtain continuing professional development (CPD) hours/points each year that relates to their context of practice, in order to comply with mandatory regulatory requirements.