Depression in cancer patients often untreated
New research conducted by a team from Edinburgh and Oxford in the U.K. suggests that many cancer patients with clinical depression are going untreated because most people wrongly assume that depression is a normal reaction to dealing with cancer.
The team looked at data on 21,000 cancer patients living in Scotland. They found 6 percent to 13 percent of them had clinical depression, compared with just 2 percent of the general population. They also discovered that 75 percent of people who reported major depression symptoms, such as difficulty eating and sleeping, were not receiving treatment, either because they didn’t seek help or health professionals missed the diagnosis.
The researchers say a nurse-led approach designed specifically for patients with cancer can substantially reduce depressive symptoms. In their study of about 500 patients, the therapy halved the depression scores of more than 60 percen of them. Patients reported they were less anxious, less fatigued and experienced less pain.
The researchers argue contended that if the program were to be rolled out widely it could improve the quality of life for thousands of people with cancer.