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Home > Arhiva > 2017 > Numar: 3 > Oncology Social Work in Romania

 Oncology Social Work in Romania

  • Csaba L. Dégi (Babeş Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca, School of Sociology and Social Work, 128-130 21 Decembrie 1989 Blvd, code 400604, E-mail:

Oncology social work has made its appearance in the United States of America (1919) as a discipline that provides psychosocial services to cancer patients in preventing disease development, during the period of diagnosis, treatment, recovery, convalescence, and palliative care. In 2016, social work within the Romanian healthcare system is just in its initial stages and focus on the psychosocial aspects of patient-related needs and activities are still insufficient.

Methodology: The APSCO project – “Assessment of Psycho-Social and Communication needs in oncology patients” – lasting four years (from 2013 to 2016), focused on fundamental research in the psychosocial oncology field in Romania, by comprehensively presenting the status-quo, emphasizing needs, lacks and problems and offering lines of psychosocial intervention, based on a mixed-method design.

Results: Most significant quantitative and qualitative results from the APSCO study are summarized in two descriptive tables with short research conclusions. Regarding knowledge of cancer diagnosis specifically, data shows that cancer patients who do not know their diagnosis have significantly higher depression scores than patients who do and register higher scores on Emotional Thermometers (statistically significant for depression and need for help).Themes emerging from the qualitative results selected from this study and existing challenges and possibilities in oncology social work – from interviewed professional’s perspective – are also presented.

Conclusions: Based on presented results and on core principles and basic methods in oncology social work employing oncology social workers in Romania would be recommended as it would make a cost-effective strategy, increasing patients’ level of satisfaction and their quality of life.

Keywords: oncology social work, patients, professionals, needs, Romania