CDC Offers Insight to Mental Health and Cancer

August 01, 2019 by Alec Stone MA, MPA, Former ONS Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy
Alec Stone
Alec Stone MA, MPA, ONS Public Affairs Director

As health care advances, so too does our understanding about the numerous conditions affecting patients, including their mental health and well-being. Messaging from federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about mental health is taking an inclusive, wholistic approach to the many aspects of mental health. CDC presented new educational applications ( for providers to consider when talking to their patients about mental well-being and their continued success in treatment.

CDC also posted its definition of mental health ( for providers to consider: “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.”

Its actions show that the agency hopes to break down the existing stigmas associated with mental health, driving patients and providers to understand that treating the illness is also treating the whole person. CDC added that “chronic conditions ( can increase the risk for mental illness,” which oncology nurses need to assess ( for when treating patients with cancer. By raising awareness, CDC will increase the public’s and healthcare providers’ understanding of mental health well-being in conjunction with chronic diseases like cancer.

CDC also shared several statistics ( pointing to the need for better efforts in mental health (

The agency also provides patients and healthcare professionals with resources and tools to discuss and confront the mental impact of cancer treatments (, including five things survivors should know about their mental health (  

Copyright © 2019 by the Oncology Nursing Society. User has permission to print one copy for personal or unit-based educational use. Contact for quantity reprints.