Inproceedings: An article in a conference proceedings.
Abstract (Abstract): shot summary in a article that contain essentials elements presented during a scientific conference, lecture or from a poster.
Alexithymia in patients recently diagnosed with cancer
Title of the conference
14th Annual Meeting of the European Association for Consultation Liaison Psychiatry and Psychosomatics (EACLPP)
Hungary, Budapest, June 30 th-July 2, 2011
Journal of Psychosomatic Research
Publication type : Meeting Abstract
Background: Contrary to the frequent assumption that alexithymia is a rather static personality trait hampering psychotherapeutic approaches, we have observed that cancer patients who qualify for the criteria of alexithymia may benefit from psychotherapy. Therefore, in patients facing a cancer diagnosis, alexithymia can often be considered as a state due to the threat of the disease (secondary alexithymia).Aims: To identify prevalence of alexithymia in newly diagnosed cancer patients and to document its evolution with and without psychotherapeutic interventions.Methods: Between 2006 and summer 2009, every newpatient of the Oncology Service of the University Hospital Lausanne was invited to benefit from psychotherapeutic support. Accepting patients were randomly assigned to a psychotherapeutic intervention or to a 4-month waiting list. Psychotherapies were formalized as psychodynamic-oriented short interventions (1-4 sessions) or brief psychodynamic psychotherapies (16 sessions). Patients who declined psychotherapeutic support were asked to participate in an observational group. Socio-demographic and medical data, alexithymia (TAS), anxiety and depression (SCL-90, HADS) and quality of life (EORTC) of participants of all groups were recorded at base line and at 1, 4, 8 and 12-months follow-up. Results: Of the 419 patients included, 190 desired psychotherapeutic support (94 were assigned to an immediate and 96 to a delayed intervention) and 229 patients accepted to be followed in the observational group. A very high proportion, almost 2/3 of the patients in all groups, qualified for alexithymia. With regard to the evolution of alexithymia, no significant changes were observed within and between groups and psychological symptoms also remained almost stable.Conclusions: Secondary alexithymia seems to be highly prevalent in newly diagnosed cancer patients. This raises important clinical and scientific questions: are these patients deprived from psychological support? How should interventions be conceptualized? Are interventions necessary and beneficial? Does alexithymia neutralize the effect of interventions on symptoms of anxiety and depression? Which outcome should be chosen for patients with secondary alexithymia?Keywords: Alexithymia, cancer, psycho-oncology, psychotherapy, secondary alexithymia
Alexithymia, cancer, psycho-oncology, psychotherapy, secondary alexithymia,
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