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The Psycho-Oncology Department offers expert psychological advice to patients and staff on the emotional challenges that may arise at all stages of the cancer journey. In addition, there is a limited service available to support family members.


Psycho-oncology is a specialty in cancer care concerned with understanding and treating the psychological, emotional, quality-of-life and functional aspects of cancer, from prevention through bereavement.


It is normal for patients to feel distressed when diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. However, at least 25% of patients will develop depression and anxiety. It is known that psychological support and intervention at all levels can reduce psychological distress, improve the patient’s quality of life, lead to a better functional and emotional outcome, and facilitate a return to daily activities.


  • Individual consultation, assessment and therapy

All adult and child patients of St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network may request a referral from your medical team for individual psychological assessment and therapeutic intervention.  

  • Groups intervention:

    Cancer Thriving and Surviving Self-Management Programme

    The Cancer Thriving and Surviving Self-Management Programme is open to patients post radiation therapy. The programme was established in 2018, it is located in St. Luke's at Rathgar and Beaumont, and is supported by Psycho-oncology department and a peer (patient) facilitator.

    Adapting to life after cancer treatment brings many challenges.  This post treatment phase can be a demanding journey but also a period for personal growth.  Our cancer Thriving and Surviving Programme is a self-management programme designed to encourage participation and mutual support from participants who are in the post treatment phase.  Topics covered include: Healthy eating, Exercise, Dealing with emotions and Effective communication. Classes involve participation for 2 1/2 hours each week for six weeks.

    For more information or any queries, please contact the Psycho-oncology department on (01) 4065163.

    Head and Neck Cancer Support Group

    The Head and Neck cancer support group is an open group for patients with a diagnosis of Head and Neck cancer. Established in 2018, it is located in St. Luke's Hospital and is supported by the psycho-oncology department, a consultant radiation oncologist and the wider multi-disciplinary team.This group aims to provide information and support to those undergoing treatment for a head and neck cancer diagnosis. The plan is that the group will meet two to three times annually, from 2012.

    For more information or any queries, please contact the Psycho-oncology department on (01) 4065163.

    Managing Cancer Related Fatigue

    The Managing Cancer Related Fatigue is a group for patients who have completed or are completing their radiotherapy treatment. Established in 2018, it is located in St. Luke's Hospital and is facilitated by the psycho-oncology department.

    Cancer related fatigue is a common symptom that significantly affects the majority patients undergoing cancer treatment and has physical, emotional and cognitive components. The psycho-oncology department aim to provide a Managing Cancer Related Fatigue 2 hour workshop every 4 months. The interactive workshop aims to assist you in the development of a self-management plan and self-care techniques.

    For more information or any queries, please contact the psycho-oncology department on (01) 4065163.

    Relaxation Classes

    The relaxation classes is an open group for patients and relatives during and post treatment. Established in 2008, it is located in the ‘Judge room’, a sitting room outside C ward in St. Luke's Hospital. It is facilitated by the Psycho-oncology department.

    The Psycho-Oncology Department in St Luke's Hospital in Rathgar holds weekly relaxation sessions for patients and relatives on Thursdays 11am to 11.30am in the Judge Room, beside Ward C. The relaxation sessions cover both progressive muscular relaxation and visualisation. All participants are given a CD to practice in their own time.

    Click here to access the online relaxation services which includes downloadable audio recordings and helpful information on how to relax and cope with stress.

     For more information or any queries, please contact the Psycho-oncology department on (01) 4065163.

    Other services:

    Bibliotherapy Service For Patients/Relatives

    Bibliotherapy is the use of books for therapeutic purposes. It has been recommended by the HSE and National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) UK as a useful start in treating mild and moderate depression, anxiety and panic and some other mental health problems. The effectiveness of bibliotherapy continues to be researched and there is good evidence to show that quality self-help books can be useful with a range of psychological issues. SLRON books cover a wide variety of topics aimed at supporting emotional well-being and have a particular cancer related focus.

    Please ask at the AHP reception desk for any of the above services or telephone (01) 4065163.


    The department places a strong emphasis on evidence-based practice and clinical research. We are currently investigating the effectiveness of 'emotional focused therapy' with cancer patients and have published in this area.


    Training patients and health professionals in psychological coping techniques and practice is the third area of work undertaken by the Psycho-Oncology Department. The members of the department also teach on various university undergraduate and postgraduate courses as part of their role.