Screening for Distress

screening for distress 1At the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, patients and their families are at the heart of everything we do. It takes a team of dedicated healthcare professionals to ensure we are helping you manage symptoms – both physical and emotional – that may be caused by cancer or cancer treatment.

Symptoms such as depression, anxiety and fatigue can often occur after a diagnosis of cancer. These symptoms are classified as “distress”. By monitoring for signs of cancer-related distress, our doctors, nurses, dietitians and social workers can address concerns and provide resources and services to help improve the emotional well being and quality of life for patients.

Distress Screening

To help our staff identify symptoms of distress, the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency uses a questionnaire to gather information about your symptoms and other issues or concerns you are experiencing. This questionnaire is called a “distress screening tool" and includes nationally used screening questions.

You will be asked to complete the distress screening tool (What matters the most to you today) at your first visit to the cancer centre while waiting to see your oncologist. Family members are welcome to assist you.

The first section of the tool is called the "Edmonton Symptom Assessment System". You will be asked to circle the number that best indicates how you are feeling at the present time, with 0 indicating the best possible feeling, and 10 the worst. The second section is the "Canadian Problem Checklist". You will be asked to check each box that reflects issues or concerns you have experienced within the last week, including today.

Your answers will be kept confidential and only be used by your healthcare team to provide the best and most appropriate care for you and your family. This may involve providing you with written materials or recommending referral to a support service available in the cancer centre or in the community. Referrals would only be made with your consent. A patient and family supportive resource sheet is available in each examination room that shows the types of resources and services available.

Find out More

If you have any questions or would like more information about distress screening, please contact:
Saskatoon Cancer Care: 306-242-6375
Allan Blair Cancer Care: 306-359-1499

Click here to see a copy of the What matters the most to you today distress screening tool. Please do not fill it out in advance. You will be given a copy to complete at your first visit to the cancer centre.

Cancer View Canada has produced a short video about distress screening for patients.


Learn More