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About the American Psychosocial Oncology Society

workshop.roundThe American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) was formed in 1986 to bring together professionals working in the psychological, behavioral and social aspects of cancer. Its mission broadened in the early 2000s to network professionals from all disciplines working in psychosocial oncology: nurses, social workers, psychologists, counselors, clergy and psychiatrists. Five hundred psychosocial oncology professionals gather at APOS’ annual conference to share new research and clinical innovations. The Psycho-Oncology journal was begun in 1992 to publish research specific to psychosocial oncology in one journal.


APOS 30th Anniversary
2016 marks the 30th anniversary of APOS! Since 1986, APOS has expanded to include professionals from all disciplines working in psychosocial oncology. Events at APOS’ 13th Annual Conference, March 3-5, 2016 in San Diego, CA, highlighted the many accomplishments of APOS over the past 30 years.

View this historic discussion of the origins and progress of psychosocial oncology, held at the 13th APOS Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA on March 4, 2016.

View the APOS Member Code of Ethics
APOS Fact Sheet



APOS is the only multidisciplinary organization in the United States dedicated to researching and treating the psychosocial aspects of cancer.

APOS Mission

THE MISSION of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society is to advance the science and practice of psychosocial oncology.

APOS Vision

The VISION of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society is a nation in which all people affected by cancer have access to quality psychosocial care to optimize health outcomes..

APOS Core Values

The American Psychosocial Oncology Society:

  • Respects the individual and cultural diversity of the human experience across the lifespan and throughout the continuum of cancer care.
  • Promotes the science and practice of psychosocial oncology as evidence-based and integral to quality cancer care.
  • Facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration through research, education, mentorship and professional networking.
  • Fosters the exchange of diverse views and expertise of our multidisciplinary members.
  • Adheres to the highest integrity, honesty and accountability to professional ethics in research and clinical practice.
APOS Conferences

APOS’ annual conferences share new research and new clinical innovations with up to 500 researchers and clinicians each year and, since 2004, have focused on the following themes:

  • Advancing Multidisciplinary Approaches to Psychosocial Oncology
  • Translating Psychosocial Oncology Research into Interdisciplinary Practice
  • Synthesizing Research, Advocacy and Program Development to Optimize the Quality of Care
  • Promoting Quality
  • Psychosocial Cancer Care Across Diverse Communities
  • Integrating Psychosocial Services in Quality Cancer Care: A Cornerstone of Care
  • Integrating Psychosocial Research and Practice in Quality Cancer Care: Setting the Standard
  • Integrating Psychosocial Research and Practice in Quality Cancer Care: Confronting Challenges Together
  • Quality Cancer Care Across the Lifespan: Psychosocial Research and Practice Across Disciplines
  • Reducing Health Disparities in Quality Cancer Care: Psychosocial Research, Practice and Outreach
  • From Psychosocial Oncology to Oncology Supportive Care Services: New Evidence, Standards and Models for Patient-Centered Care
  • Implementing Quality Care Standards for Psychosocial Oncology and Supportive Care
  • From National to Global: Implementing the Standard of Psychosocial Care in Oncology
  • Psychosocial Cancer Care for All: Achieving Equity in Psychosocial Oncology

In 2016, APOS began a three-year conference plan focused on the theme of Achieving Health Equity in Psychosocial Oncology. The 2016 conference addressed health equity in psychosocial oncology across ethnic, racial, and sociologic and religious cultural minorities. In 2017, APOS will focus on achieving health equity across the lifespan—from pediatrics to geriatrics, and in 2018, the conversation will turn to how innovative uses of big data and technology can help achieve health equity in psychosocial oncology.
Member Engagement

APOS has ten Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that allow cross-disciplinary professionals to collaborate and network: Bereavement, Cancer Caregiver, E-Health, Health Equity and Cultural Diversity, Integrative Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatric Oncology, Sexual & Reproductive Health, Spirituality, and Survivorship.

APOS offers free webinars for members (for purchase by nonmembers) on a wide range of subjects, including funding for psychosocial programs, Acceptance-Commitment Therapy with cancer patients, anti-depressant medication use in cancer patients, understanding and supporting grief across the cancer trajectory, and how to write a manuscript.

APOS offers mentoring opportunities for early career professionals.

APOS offers training in routine comprehensive distress screening and endorses survivorship care plans and patient navigation as a means of achieving the psychosocial quality care standard in cancer treatment.

APOS started a toll-free HELPLINE in 2003 to connect cancer patients, their caregivers, and advocacy organizations with psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, and counselors skilled in the management of cancer-related distress. This referral program, now part of the Cancer Support Helpline® (affiliated with the Cancer Support Community), served almost 600 people in December 2014.

APOS publishes three reference handbooks for clinicians to guide the psychiatric and psychological dimensions of cancer symptom management for adult, pediatric, and geriatric patients. APOS also publishes, in collaboration with the International Psycho-Oncology Society, the Psycho-Oncology textbook, which covers topics including cognitive dysfunction caused by chemotherapy, major 'somatopsychic' symptoms caused by proinflammatory cytokines, evidence-based clinical practice guidelines from around the world, survivorship issues, psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacologic interventions, gender-based and geriatric issues, underserved populations, community based programs, and caregiver training and education.

APOS, with IPOS, also publishes the monthly journal Psycho-Oncology: Journal of the Psychological, Social and Behavioral Dimensions of Cancer, a leading journal in the field with a consistently high impact factor and readership of >5,000.

APOS works/has worked closely with the following affiliated organizations to develop and implement cancer care standards that integrate psychosocial cancer care with biomedical cancer care:

  • Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine (APM)
  • Alliance for Quality Psychosocial Cancer Care
  • American Cancer Society
  • American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
  • Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC)
  • Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW)
  • CancerCare
  • Cancer Support Community
  • Children's Cancer Network
  • International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS)
  • National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS)
  • National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)
  • Oncology Nursing Society (ONS)
  • Patient Quality of Life (PQLC)
  • Society of Behavioral Medicine