HOW TO BECOME A PSYCHO-ONCOLOGIST IN INDIA
Being diagnosed with cancer is an overwhelming experience for the patient. A flood of emotions, intense anxiety, and fear of death, resulting in depression, consumes the patient's mind. A person has to fight two battles simultaneously, one with cancer and the other with his mind.
Who is a psycho-oncologist?
A psycho-oncologist is a professional dealing with the psychological and emotional reactions of the patients. They also focus on the behavioral and social factors that may affect the rate of prognosis. They work in a close association with the oncologists in serving cancer patients.
Goals of a psycho-oncologist:
- Boost an abidance towards the treatment plans of the patient;
- Help the patients and their families in adjusting to the pre and post-treatment lifestyle changes;
- Enhance the quality of life throughout the treatment, survivorship and palliative care;
- Help in dealing with loss and grief.
Requirements to become a Psycho-oncologist:
To practice as a psycho-oncologist, one must have a bachelor's in psychology, a Master's in psychology ( health, clinical or counseling psychology is preferred), and an M.Phil or Ph. D in psycho-oncology. Other training programs in psycho-oncology are also available that one can opt for after the Master's in psychology to pursue a career in this field.
Also read, Masters in Psychology in India.
Institutes offering psycho-oncology courses:
Only a few institutes in India offer courses in psycho-oncology.
- Cancer Institute (WIA), Adyar Chennai - M.Phil and Ph.D. in Psycho-oncology
- Centre of Psycho-Oncology for Education and Research (COPER), Bangalore - 1-year diploma in Psycho-oncology
- TATA Hospital, Kolkata - 1-year fellowship program
Scope of psycho-oncology:
Psycho-oncology or Psychosocial Oncology is still at its infancy in India. Due to a lack of awareness among people about this new specialty of psychology, only a handful of professionals are currently in service.
With the Institutes like COPER setting the stage for the aspirants of psycho-oncology and spreading awareness regarding it, tremendous growth is anticipated.