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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Researchers to conduct study on mental health of cancer survivors

By The Star Staff

Researchers from the Ponce Research Institute (PRI) of Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU) will conduct a study that will learn about the challenges faced by cancer patients and survivors, as well as their caregivers in Puerto Rico. This initiative, supported by a $5,603,516 grant from the National Cancer Institute, aims to improve the quality of life for those battling cancer by promoting mental health and reducing the stigma associated with mental health services.

“Cancer patients and their caregivers often face a number of challenges that go beyond their physical health. Emotional strain, stress, and difficulties accessing appropriate mental health services are common problems. To address these issues, a team of PRI researchers has embarked on a community-based, participatory research initiative. This initiative includes training community leaders in preventive psycho-oncology, designing a screening program to identify emotional and psychosocial support needs, as well as educational activities to help cope with stress. In addition, access to specialized Psycho-Oncology services offered by Ponce Health Sciences University will be facilitated,” explained Dr. Eida Castro, associate professor and one of the principal investigators of the study with Dr. Guillermo Armaíz.

“This community intervention seeks to address all stages of mental health prevention, from early detection to the provision of specialized psycho-oncology mental health services. Our goal is to improve the quality of life of cancer survivors and their caregivers by providing the necessary support to face the emotional challenges that come with the battle against cancer,” said Dr. Armaíz, who added that the training of community leaders as psycho-oncology mental health promoters will contribute to the promotion of mental health in the communities that will benefit from this effort.

Ponce Health Sciences University is a university focused on the disciplines of Medicine, Clinical Psychology, Biomedical Sciences, Public Health, Nursing and Dental Medicine. Since 1977, they have developed highly trained professionals in the field of health care. His educational center in San Juan offers a master’s degree in Medical Sciences, a master’s degree in Educational Psychology, and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. It also has a course in St. Louis, MO.

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