Duke Psycho-oncology Program


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The Duke Psycho-oncology Program offers psychiatric consultation and treatment for patients in the Duke Cancer Center. The program is an integral part of the Duke Cancer Center Psychosocial Oncology service, working closely with Cancer Patient Support counselors and other survivorship services to provide comprehensive treatment for an array of emotional and psychological problems associated with a cancer diagnosis. There can be numerous mental health problems associated with a cancer diagnosis. These problem areas include (but are not limited to) depression, anxiety, adjustment problems, medication reactions contributing to emotional distress or psychiatric symptoms, cognitive problems associated with cancer or cancer treatments, medication interactions, problems related to caregiver responsibilities, complex psychiatric problems in the context of multiple medical comorbidities, and worsening of pre-existing psychiatric difficulties.

Available services include psychotherapy and counseling, psychiatric medication evaluations and management, recommendations and referrals for other Duke services (e.g., sleep disorders clinic, substance abuse treatment, pain clinic). Psychiatrists work closely with other services at the Cancer Center to deliver comprehensive and collaborative care for our patients. When patients at the Duke Cancer Center travel from distant locations, and are receiving treatment from their local mental health providers, consultation and recommendations can be communicated to local providers.

Psychiatric services for the Psycho-oncology Program are predominantly for outpatients. For patients in the hospital, the Duke Psychiatry Consultation Service can see patients and arrange for outpatient follow-up after discharge.

Patients and/or their families can be referred by physicians and/or counselors at the Duke Cancer Center. Patients who would like an appointment can simply ask their Duke oncology team for a referral.

The Psycho-oncology Program also has collaborative efforts within the Duke Cancer Center for research and training. Residents from the Duke Psychiatry residency program participate in the evaluation and treatment of patients, as well as receiving training in the psychosocial care of the patient with cancer.