On World Mental Health Day, NCCN Announces Free Updated Distress Screening Tool, Available in More Than 70 Languages

Mental Health

Mental Health

The Distress Thermometer from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network promotes dialogue and suggests best practices for handling psychological wellbeing, resulting in improved care for cancer patients everywhere.

The updated NCCN Distress Thermometer, which is available in more than 70 languages, was just announced by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) in order to assist people in identifying and addressing psychosocial stressors that might make it difficult to deal with having cancer, its symptoms, or treatment. The statement is made on World Mental Health Day, a day set aside internationally to increase awareness of the resources and needs for mental health worldwide.

“The NCCN Distress Thermometer has been helping to normalize and encourage discussion of distress as a standard part of oncology patient visits since 1997”, “We recently overhauled this free one-page resource to be even more user-friendly and inclusive. Distress screening should be a routine part of cancer care for everyone, everywhere. By making this free resource even easier to understand and use, as well as more accessible, we hope all people with cancer will receive the support they need in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.”

Michelle Riba, MD, MS, University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center, Chair of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology Panel for Distress Management

The tool includes a simple scale for indicating the amount of distress a patient is experiencing. It also features a straightforward checklist of concerns covering different domains, including:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Practical
  • Social

religious or spiritual.

The full NCCN Guidelines® for Distress Management feature evidence-based expert consensus recommendations aimed at health care practitioners in addition to the one-page NCCN Distress Thermometer and Problem List. The same information is also available in an accessible format as NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Distress During Cancer Care, enabling patients and caregivers to take part in shared decision-making.

The updated translations of the NCCN Distress Thermometer are a part of NCCN’s continuous initiatives to improve non-English speakers’ access to NCCN Guidelines and related therapeutic resources. In addition to the original English, it is currently accessible in the following languages:

“On World Mental Health Day and every day, we want to uphold the fact that addressing emotional distress is a key part of patient care”, “We hope our work helps reduce any stigma or burden, enabling these important discussions around emotional wellbeing.”

Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN

The NCCN Distress Thermometer is used in 25 countries, and independent researchers recently published a study in Psycho-Oncology reviewing 39 peer-reviewed articles verifying its usage, concluding that “this tool has demonstrated to be a helpful approach to facilitate commencement of the conversation.”

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