New Program To Treat Depression In Cancer Patients

Depression is one of the most common side effects linked to cancer. Three-quarters of patients who have been diagnosed with cancer suffer from clinical depression that in most cases goes untreated a new study reveals.

A team of researchers from Edinburgh and Oxford Universities also discovered that patients who do receive care could greatly benefit from a new medical program that took ten years to develop. Researchers say that the new program could prove more effective at dealing with clinical depression than any existing treatment.

500 patients with good prognosis were used in the trial. It was published this week in the Lancet. The study shows that 62% of patients who participated in the Depression Care for People with Cancer (DCPC) program responded to treatment. With usual care an estimated 17% respond to treatment.

Cancer patients are more apt to suffer from clinical depression than the general population. Around 2% of the general population deal with depression, where 13% of patients suffering from lung cancer have clinical depression.

Michael Sharpe, the lead author on the study from Oxford University, said: "Major depression is really quite common in people with cancer and the perhaps surprising finding is that most of it goes untreated. The outcome with usual care is poor. We've described a new approach to managing depressed cancer patients that is based on the shortcomings of usual care, and integrated with cancer care, that really has quite spectacular effects in the good-prognosis patients and also has efficacy in the poor-prognosis patients."

Patients who took part in the clinical trial also saw improvement with anxiety, fatigue and pain. Their quality of life improved.The focus f the study was on quality of life over length of life. The results from the study seemed to point to the fact that cancer patients who suffered from depression had a reduced survival rate.

DCPC care integrates with the patients cancer care and includes antidepressants and psychological treatment that is closely monitored.



Tammy Marie Rose

About Tammy Marie Rose

Tammy Marie Rose is an author, blogger and freelance writer with over ten years professional writing experience. She is a divorced mother of three. Her family calls West by God Virginia home.

Tammy Marie Rose

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