Depression and Cancer

Ultima Vez Modificado: 12 de enero del 2011

Share article


Imprima English

Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

How can I tell if my spouse is "depressed" over his diagnosis or if what he is feeling is "normal"?

Answer

Tracy Lautenbach, MSW, LCSW, Social Worker in the Radiation Oncology Department at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

Some degree of depression is common in people who are coping with cancer, and some cancers are more frequently associated with depression, like those in the pancreas and lung. About 25 percent of all people with cancer experience clinical depression, causing distress, impaired functioning, and a decreased ability to follow a treatment schedule. Not surprisingly, depression is seen more often in people with advanced stages of cancer, those with increased disability due to the cancer and those who have poor pain control.

It is not uncommon for people who learn they have cancer to go through a period of shock, disbelief or even denial. For many, understanding what to expect and gaining more knowledge about the cancer makes it easier to move forward. If the initial sense of hopelessness or helplessness persists and is accompanied by feelings of despair, guilt and hopelessness then the possibility of significant depression should be considered.

It would be important to speak to your spouse and his physician, along with other members of your healthcare team. Both counseling and medications can make a very big difference in how a depressed patient can feel and improve other symptoms at the same time. Treatment for depression has proven benefits for persons with cancer.

Imprima English
News
Early Palliative Care in Lung CA Focuses on Coping, Symptoms

Jan 31, 2013 - Early palliative care clinic visits, integrated with standard oncologic care for patients with metastatic lung cancer, emphasize symptom management, coping, and psychosocial aspects of illness, according to research published online Jan. 28 in JAMA Internal Medicine.



I Wish You Knew

The role of the chaplain in cancer care

View More



Blogs and Web Chats

OncoLink Blogs give our readers a chance to react to and comment on key cancer news topics and provides a forum for OncoLink Experts and readers to share opinions and learn from each other.




OncoLink OncoPilot

Frente a un nuevo diagnóstico de cáncer o de cambiar el curso de su tratamiento actual? Deje que nuestro personal de enfermería cáncer que ayudan a pasar!

Más información