A biopsychosocial screening program can provide clinical benefits for patients with cancer, according to a study published in JCO Clinical Practice

Cancer patients who participated in a biopsychosocial screening program in Brazil had fewer hospitalizations and shorter hospital stays than patients who did not participate, researchers reported.

The researchers explained that biopsychosocial screening “can be defined as a brief method for prospectively identifying, triaging, and educating patients with cancer and their families at risk for illness-related biopsychosocial complications that undermine the ability to fully benefit from medical care, the efficiency of the clinical encounter, patient satisfaction, and safety.”

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The researchers retrospectively studied the effects of a biopsychosocial screening program in cancer patients treated at a private practice in Brazil from March 2020 to December 2021. With this program, patients were screened on their first day of oncology treatment to identify unmet needs. A psychologist and nutritionist then worked to implement necessary interventions.

Of 1014 eligible patients, 459 participated in the screening program, and 555 did not. In the overall study population, the median age of the patients was 63 (range, 19-94) years. The most common cancers were breast (28.2%), hematologic (21.7%), and gastrointestinal (16.9%). The majority of patients (60.2%) were diagnosed with advanced disease.

The proportion of patients hospitalized during treatment was about 4 times greater among patients who did not participate in the screening program than among those who did (32.6% vs 8.2%; P =.001).

The median length of hospital stay was significantly shorter among those who participated in the program than among those who did not (4.2 days vs 9.8 days; P =.001).

Hospital admissions for surgical interventions were more common for patients who participated in the program than for those who did not (40.5% vs 15.2%; P =.001).

Patients who did not participate in the program were more likely than those who did to be hospitalized for fever, infection, or neutropenia (P =.03); functional status decline (P =.01); and respiratory symptoms (P =.03).

“These findings demonstrate the benefit of an integrated program of systematic routine symptom assessment across a broad range of cancer types in a cancer center located in Brazil,” the researchers wrote. “The BSP [biopsychosocial screening program] may enable health care teams to promptly manage symptoms, prioritize needs, facilitate referrals, improve communication, and potentially prevent avoidable hospital admissions.”

Disclosures: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.


Bergerot CD, Bergerot PG, Molina LNM, et al. Impact of a biopsychosocial screening program on clinical and hospital-based outcomes in cancer. JCO Oncol Prac. Published online February 8, 2023. doi:10.1200/OP.22.00751