From Our 2009 Archives

Depression May Hasten Cancer Death

MONDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- An analysis of research suggests that depression can rob people with cancer of years of life, raising questions about the need to screen patients for psychological problems.

"We found an increased risk of death in patients who report more depressive symptoms than others and also in patients who have been diagnosed with a depressive disorder compared to patients who have not," said University of British Columbia graduate student Jillian Satin, co-author of a study published online Sept. 14 in the journal Cancer.

Satin and colleagues reviewed studies about how depression affects health in cancer patients. They found 26 studies with more than 9,400 patients that met their criteria.

Overall, death rates were as much as 25% higher in patients who felt depressed and 39% higher in patients who received a diagnosis of depression.

The researchers found a disparity even after taking into account other possible factors that could affect their findings. But they say more research is needed to confirm the results and determine whether depression affects death rates from certain kinds of cancer more than others.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: Wiley-Blackwell, news release, Sept. 14, 2009

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