Cancer And Your Mental Health


Many people with cancer develop depression during the disease. However, it is not given the much-needed attention because fighting the cancer cells is the top priority. Depression does not only affect the cancer patient but also the people around him. Therapy may be of help, but when you’re facing the possibility of death, the depression will become too strong to cope.

Studies have shown that 3 out of 4 depressed cancer patients do not undergo treatment for depression. A new treatment program was designed to help cancer patients battle with depression and at the same time enhance their life’s quality.

Good thing that mental health is given the attention that it supposedly should have years ago and it includes treating a cancer patient using the holistic approach.

Some researchers from renowned school in Europe have done impressive research connecting the frequency of occurrence of depression to cancer patients and how to improve the therapies that are being used.


Depression And Cancer – What’s The Story?

It is natural that when someone from your family was diagnosed with cancer, the other members would feel sad and worry. However, natural feelings and clinical depression should be clearly defined. Thus, the study that was made focused more on the clinical depression that can significantly affect the person’s ability to do the activities of daily living.

To feel the sadness when diagnosed with cancer is one thing, but being diagnosed with clinical depression together with the cancer diagnosis is another thing. Often, the latter usually go unnoticed and always get mistaken by the previous because the physical disease is more of a concern than the mental health of the person.

Without a doubt, cancer should be prioritized first. However, the mental health of the cancer patient and the people living with the patient should also be given importance.

Making a holistic approach kind of treatment does not improve the physical well-being of the patient, but most importantly it promotes the general quality of life.


Measuring The Problem And Trying To Solve It

During the study, researchers have found that depression is likely to happen to cancer patients than to the general population. Mainly, cancer patients who were given less chance of survival rate go through depression.

In this study, it also showed that depressed cancer patients do not react to their cancer treatment well. And if depression gets notice, only 1 out of 4 patients get an antidepressant medication.

In the second part of the study, which focuses more on improving the treatment of depressed cancer patients, the researchers have developed the DCPC or Depression Care for People with Cancer treatment program and later on compared the result to the existing treatment for cancer patients with depression.

Typically, depressed cancer patients are treated by their GPs only, but with DCPC, specially trained nurses, psychiatrists, GPs, and oncologists form the core team. Aside from giving out antidepressants, the team also encourage the patients to go on with their life and do the things that they love doing.

The nurses assist the patient in identifying their issues in life and then help them control their lives again.  The DCPC treatment is comprehensive, thorough, well structured and designed for the treatment of cancer patients. Furthermore, the new treatment is cost-effective, and it is only a small fraction of the other cancer treatments price.

Likewise, during the research, a group of depressed cancer patients whose survival rate are high where divided into two, the first group were to receive the DCPC treatment while the other gets the standard treatment. In the end, more than half of the first group shows improvement with their depression, while with the second group there were only 17% of patients that showed improvement.

Furthermore, patients who received the DCPC treatment showed better overall health and quality of life.

In the third part of the research, the treatment was tried on cancer patients who have poor prognosis like patients with lung cancer.

Many lung cancer patients continued with the standard treatment while there were some who were treated using the DCPC program. Just the same, DCPC treatment is more competent in addressing the mental health of the patient. After eight months of treatment, patients treated by the DCPC program are less anxious, less depressed and ha a better quality of life.

A Brighter Future

Living with cancer is hard and so does living with depression, but battling both of the conditions is even worse. The study that was conducted gives valuable insights on how to identify cancer patients who are most likely to suffer from depression too. Not only that, but it also shows the importance of treating the depression of a cancer patient.

More so, the research was able to prove that diagnosing clinical depression is not enough, but treatment should be done urgently. The study also shows that cancer patients recognize and accept the feeling but does not recognize them to be treatable. With the help of DCPC, cancer patients can identify and understand the sentiment and understand that they could get help in a not expensive way.

DCPC may not change the treatment of the depression to cancer patients instantly, but it gives them a new alternative.

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