The period in which children are diagnosed with cancer and undergo treatment coincides with a time of critical physical, cognitive, behavioral, and social development. The mental health of children with cancer is particularly vulnerable due to the inherent uncertainties of the diagnosis, prognosis, therapy, and disruption of their daily lives. Psychiatric diagnoses such as anxiety and depression are often underdiagnosed, undertreated, and extend beyond the conclusion of cancer therapy. This presentation will address appropriate screening and assessment tools to enhance the pediatric oncology nurse’s comfort in identifying pathologic depression and anxiety, exploring treatment modalities such as psychotherapy, psychopharmacology (including appropriate dosing and monitoring), and when to refer patients for further care.
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