Research shows that if receiving a diagnosis of cancer results in clinical depression or anxiety or significantly impacts a person's mental health, it can negatively impact health outcomes and the quality of patients' lives during treatment. The good news is, when depression and anxiety related to another major health issue are identified and treated early, both quality of life and treatment outcomes improve.
Factors responsible for increased depression and anxiety include:
- Treatment modalities for cancer, including chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, as well as side effects of various medications, can contribute to the development of major depression and/or anxiety.
- Being diagnosed with a serious illness can cause psychological stressors, such as fear of future outcomes, body image concerns, dealing with the emotional effects of treatment, and how undergoing treatment will impact one's life, including a person's ability to work, which can contribute to financial concerns.
- Individuals with a prior history of depression, a family history of psychiatric illness, or a poor social support system, are at higher risk of developing depression upon being diagnosed with a serious illness.
Identifying Depression in a Cancer Patient