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  • Psychosocial Oncology

    Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Care

    Cancer affects more than just the body. Patients and survivors may face complex emotions or feelings of sadness, depression, or anxiety. Sometimes, just having an experienced specialist listen to your concerns can be helpful; at other times, medication can make emotional distress easier to bear.

    About the Program

    The caregivers in our Psychosocial Oncology Program, part of the Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, will work with you to define your concerns and develop an individual treatment plan aimed at helping you cope with emotional stress through all phases of the cancer experience, including:

    • Anxiety and sadness
    • Depression
    • Family coping
    • Relationship issues
    • Personal, spiritual, and existential issues
    • Changes in thinking and behavior

    We work closely with your oncologist, nurses, and other members of your care team to ensure that the care you receive is both comprehensive and coordinated.

    We also work with the Palliative Care team, which helps patients manage pain and other physical, emotional, and spiritual distress during serious illnesses, as well as at the end of life. Additionally, our experts provide personalized support to young adults (ages 18-39) being treated for cancer through our Young Adult Program, as well as support for bereaved families.

    Psychosocial services for patients undergoing allogeneic bone marrow transplants

    We offer specialized psychosocial services to patients undergoing allogeneic bone marrow transplant (with stems cells from a donor). The psychosocial service team is available before, during, and after transplant to support patients' social and emotional needs. The team works closely with stem cell transplant physicians and nurses to ensure that all aspects of care are coordinated throughout the course of treatment.

    Psychosocial oncology and palliative care

    The Psychosocial Oncology Program is part of the Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care. Our teams help cancer patients and their families maintain the best quality of life during and after treatment. Our clinicians include physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, and a pharmacist who work closely with you and your healthcare team to provide integrated care and support your unique needs. Learn more about the Adult Palliative Care Program

    Billing and Privacy

    Billing issues

    In general, we will bill your insurance company for psychiatry visits. Most psychiatry visits require prior authorization and most insurance plans have a calendar year maximum. Please check with your insurance company so that you understand your mental health benefits. If you have concerns about paying for treatment, please speak directly with your psychiatrist. For billing questions, please contact us at 617-632-6181.

    Privacy and confidentiality

    Because it's important for your oncologist to be aware of your psychosocial concerns, your medications, and how you are coping, our psychiatrists work closely with your oncology team.

    At the same time, we understand that you might not want to share some issues with other clinicians, and you should feel able to talk to us about what issues you would prefer not to share. We will be happy to talk about any concerns you might have about confidentiality.

    What will be in your medical record?

    The psychiatrist will dictate a summary note for each visit. These notes will be inserted in a restricted note section of your electronic medical record and will not be released to anyone outside Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center without your explicit permission. Details that are not necessary for other clinicians are not included in these summaries.

    Contact Us

    To schedule or cancel outpatient appointments (Dana-Farber patients only)

    Call our office at 617-632-6181.

    To request an inpatient consult

    Call the Department of Psychiatry at 617-732-6701.

    To reach your psychiatrist during working hours

    To reach your psychiatrist Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., call 617-632-6181.

    For emergencies and night/weekend coverage

    If you have urgent concerns or to speak with a psychiatrist during weeknights 5:00 p.m. – 8:30 a.m. or weekends Friday 5:00 p.m. – Monday 8:30 a.m., please call 617-732-5700 pager #13088.

    To renew a prescription

    For prescription renewals, please call us at 617-632-6181 and select option 5. Leave a voicemail message and include the name of your psychiatrist, medication, dose, and frequency of administration, as well as the telephone number of your pharmacy.

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