Depression can be a seriously debilitating mental illness and the situation can become grave when this mental problem strikes cancer patients. Showing a relationship between depression and cancer survivors, a recent study by the University Hospital Cancer Center (UHCC), in Newark, New Jersey, found that 40 percent of the cancer patients suffered from depression. Further, three out of four cancer patients neither had a proper diagnosis for depression nor received treatment for it, the study added.
The findings, presented at the October 8 annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, in San Diego, also said that depression was not diagnosed previously in 75 percent of cancer patients.
As part of the study, the researchers observed more than 400 cancer patients admitted to the UHCC between 2013 and 2016. The participants were aged between 20 and 86 years, with a median age of 55.
High prevalence of depression among cancer patients
Speaking about the prevalence of depression among cancer patients, study author Jason Domogauer said, “Depression prevalence continues to be high among cancer patients, especially those receiving treatment at an urban cancer center, as well as those who identify as female or are disabled by their disease.”
Ironically, most of the depressed patients go undiagnosed and untreated. This created an “important gap in cancer care and an opportunity to improve patient outcomes,” he said in a news release.
According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, 15 to 25 percent cancer patients suffer from depression. This is higher than the 1.5 percent prevalence of depression in the general population of the U.S.
Diagnosis and treatment is crucial
When people are diagnosed with cancer, they are bound to be affected mentally and their mental state would deteriorate as the disease progresses. To tackle such a situation, the researchers maintained that proper diagnosis and subsequent treatment were vital to addressing the issue of depression among cancer patients. Domogauer said that treatment of depression in cancer patients was pivotal and depression screening should start during the initial and continuing patient visits and those diagnosed should receive mental health treatment right away. There should be an increased collaboration between mental health providers and cancer treatment centers, he suggested.
Hence, proper treatment and constant follow-ups with mental health experts will help assuage symptoms and provide the necessary tools to combat the disease and achieve good mental health.
World Mental Health Day
The world observes the World Mental Health Day every year on October 10, with an intent to dissipate stigma and discrimination associated with psychological disorders. This is also the time to realize that proper diagnosis and treatment hold the key to recovery. The day calls for action to raise awareness about mental health problems and efforts made for better mental health.
Mental health problems may arise at any juncture of one’s life. Whether it is depression in cancer patients, trauma after a haunting incident, post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorder, or other severe mental conditions like bipolar disorder (BD), the only way to deal with such conditions is timely professional treatment. Symptoms of psychological disorders worsen over time, if left untreated.
Seeking help for mental disorders
If you have a loved one who is struggling with a mental health condition, seek immediate help from a credible rehab. Sovereign Health is a leading behavioral health treatment services provider in the United States with state-of-the-art facilities at major places in the country. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-969-5557 to know more about our various depression treatment programs. You can even chat online with our trained representatives for more information about the best depression rehab center, near you.