Oral Presentation Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting 2018

Development of Cancer-specific Manualised Depression Treatment (#24)

Joanne Shaw 1 , Laura Kirsten 2 , Lisa Beatty 3 , lisa Vacarro 1 , David Kissane 4 , Geoff Mitchell 5 , Brian Kelly 6 , Kerry Sherman 7 , meera agar 8 , Jane Turner 9
  1. Psycho-oncology Co-operative Research Group (PoCoG), School of Psychology, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  2. Nepean Cancer Care Centre,, Nepean Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  3. College of Medicine & Public Health, , Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, , Adelaide, SA, Australia
  4. 4Department of Psychiatry, , Monash University, Melborne, Vic, Australia
  5. 6Faculty of Medicine, , The University of Queensland, Herston, QLD, Australia
  6. School of Medicine & Public Health, Newcastle University, Callaghan, NSW, Australia
  7. Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology, , Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  8. Faculty of Health, University of Technology, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  9. Discipline of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland, Herston, QLD

Aim: Psychological therapies, combined with medication where appropriate, are effective in improving outcomes of cancer patients with depression. However, in Australia, current psycho-oncology workforce is insufficient to meet patient need. To bridge this gap, innovative models of care delivery are urgently required. To support implementation of a community-based shared care model, training of community-based psychologists to deliver evidence-based cancer-specific treatment is required. The aim of this research was to develop and assess the acceptability, clinical relevance and face validity of a cancer-specific manualised therapy and associated training to facilitate skill development among community-based clinical psychologists.


Methods: To inform manual development a comprehensive review of the literature and Gap Analysis was conducted. An iterative approach led by an expert panel of psycho-oncology clinicians was applied to manual development. Session content of the cancer-specific manualised therapy was based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) principles. Stakeholder review of the manual was conducted using a structured evaluation format with open-text responses and/or optional semi-structured interview. Both community and hospital-based clinical psychologists were recruited. Responses were analysed using a content analysis approach. Manual content was revised based on feedback.


Results: A six core and four booster session cancer-specific CBT manual was developed. Stakeholder feedback (n=11) confirmed overall acceptability and face validity of the manual and associated training. Content was reported to be clinically relevant. Experienced hospital-based psychologists highlighted additional content on cognitive re-structuring techniques for cancer patients and importance of associated oncology training. For community psychologists, level of content in session one and need for cancer-specific examples across sessions was highlighted. Feedback was mapped onto existing sessions.


Conclusions: Implementation of community-based models of care require evidence-based training of community clinical psychologists to facilitate effective treatment. Development of a cancer-specific depression therapy manual and associated training to support psychologists is the first step in expanding the psycho-oncology workforce.