Background: Cancer-related psychological distress, as a concept, has limited research literature substantiation. Several studies report that patients with cancer suffer from significant psychological distress; however, the description of the concept of cancer-related psychological distress has not been clearly described. Theoretical work based on the concept is also unclear.
Objectives: This article is a report on the concept of cancer-related psychological distress to clarify the concept as separate from non–cancer-related psychological distress and promote the use of the term in nursing practice and research across the cancer trajectory.
Methods: This article used a content analysis to examine the literature. The literature review for this article used CINAHL®, PsycINFO®, and PubMed to search publications from 1999–2016.
Findings: Content analysis of the literature revealed that the term psychological distress was used often with regard to distress in patients with cancer, but the concept of cancer-related psychological distress was not clearly defined. Four attributes encompass the concept of cancer-related psychological distress: depression, anxiety, fear, and feeling discouraged. The primary antecedent to the concept is the cancer diagnosis. The consequences can be positive or negative.