1475 - Somatic vulnerability in oncological patients

Date 28 September 2012
Event ESMO Congress 2012
Session Publication Only
Topics Psychosocial Aspects of Cancer
Presenter Luisina Onganía
Authors L. Onganía1, P. Climentzos2, M.P. Bramajo2, O. Osores3, M. Blanco Villalba4
  • 1Psychooncology, Lucha Contra el Cáncer Ushuaia, 9410 - Ushuaia/AR
  • 2Psychooncology, Centro Médico Austral Omi, Buenos Aires/AR
  • 3Psychooncology, Lucha Contra el Cáncer Ushuaia, Ushuaia/AR
  • 4Oncology, Centro Médico Austral Omi, Buenos Aires/AR



Making a complete psychosocial diagnosis in oncological patients, at the beginning of medical treatment enriches the approach of interdisciplinary teams. It gives important information that may be used to decide future interventions. Somatic vulnerability is a psychoanalytic concept that shows some dimensions of the personality and environment that may put the patient in risk. Some of them are alexitimia (difficulty to express emotions), operatory thinking, over-adaptation, depression, anxiety, stress and supportive environment. Doctors are fairly used to detect some depressive symptoms, but no so familiarized with the detection of the other kind of dimensions that are also risky for the patient evolution or quality of life.


Observe the presence of somatic vulnerability in cancer patients.

Material and methods

Descriptive, transversal and randomized study. Sample: 103 cancer patients that attend to a private cancer center between April and June of 2011. Instruments: Somatic Vulnerability Scale (EVS-25) and specifically designed questionnaire.


50 of 103 patients show somatic vulnerability. The 54% of the vulnerable ones, doesn't evidence any depressive disorder. Only 15% of the vulnerable patients are in psychological treatment. Most of them give high results for the other dimensions that involve somatic vulnerability (alexitimia, operatory thinking, over-adaptation, anxiety, stress or unsupportive environment in different percentages).


This study shows that a high percentage of the patients have somatic vulnerability. The somatic vulnerability seems to be hard to be detected by doctors because it involves many specific mental dimensions. In fact, only 15% of the patients in risk are in psychological treatment. The intervention of a trained professional seems to be relevant to make an earlier diagnosis of the patients in risk, affecting directly in the evolution and quality of life of them and their families.


All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.