NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A study of oncologists and palliative care specialists reveals that occupational stress is common in these fields, according to a report in the June issue of Clinical Medicine.

"It is clear that specialist registrars training in cancer and palliative care are experiencing high levels of stress," senior author Dr. Chris Todd, from the University of Manchester in the UK, said in a statement. "The items with the highest (stress) scores appear to relate to the very issues in clinical practice one might expect these doctors to be concerned about, being competent in the face of conflicting demands on time."

The results stem from a postal survey of 401 specialists. Standard scoring systems were used to measure psychological distress and depression.

Overall, 26.2% of subjects had scores indicating psychological distress and 11.3% of subjects had evidence of depression. In additional, suicidal ideation was identified in 15 respondents.

The main predictor of psychological distress and depression was the impact of stress on personal or family life, the report indicates. Dissatisfaction with specialty choice and feeling underutilized were cited as contributors.

The finding that roughly one in four oncologists/palliative care specialists is stressed is similar to what has been reported in general practitioners and other specialists, the authors note.