People diagnosed with advanced cancer can face a host of challenges and stresses, from navigating the health care system to dealing with relationship disruptions and figuring out how to spend the time they have left, that can leave them vulnerable to depression. Yet cancer centers and clinics don’t routinely provide psychological support to all advanced cancer patients to help them cope. In a new clinical trial, just three to six sessions of a tailored psychotherapy approach known as Managing Cancer and Living Meaningfully, or CALM, helped to lessen symptoms of depression in people recently diagnosed with advanced cancer. Results from the trial also showed that the approach may help prevent the onset of depression in those with advanced disease. “We know there’s a lot of distress [among people with advanced cancer], and we’ve shown previously that, without treatment, the symptoms of depression get worse,” said study leader Gary Rodin, M.D., head of the Department of Supportive Care at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, Canada. “The idea of CALM is to intervene proactively rather than just waiting for people to get distressed, anxious, depressed, and overwhelmed,” he said. The sustained improvement among patients after as few as three CALM sessions was impressive, said Ann O’Mara, Ph.D., R.N., M.P.H., head of palliative research in NCI’s Division of Cancer Prevention, who was not involved in the study. CALM therapy “addresses many issues that are above and beyond what palliative care services may [currently] provide,” Dr. O’Mara said. “If incorporated into a palliative care setting, this intervention could really help our patients with advanced cancer.” Results of the randomized clinical trial were published June 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.