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Depression in cancer patients overlooked

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

Recent research has discovered that around three-quarters of cancer patients do not receive the psychological treatment they require.  Researchers have suggested that the problem is due to the physical symptoms being addressed at the expense of the psychological.  The research, carried out by the Lancet, highlighted that the problem is overlooked even though it could be treated at a fraction of the cost of cancer medication.

Research carried out by Edinburgh and Oxford Universities found that clinical depression is a very common reaction to cancer, with it often being wrongly perceived as sadness. They believe that the problem could be solved with a simple nurse-led treatment plan, which could greatly improve the lives of thousands of sufferers.

75% of sufferers received no treatment

In a number of studies they looked at the data of 21,000 cancer patients living in Scotland. Of that number, 6% to 13% suffered with clinical depression, (only 2% of the general population suffers with clinical depression at any time). Researchers found that around 75% of these patients were not receiving any treatment.

One study revealed that of 500 patients, therapy for depression halved the scores of over 60%.  Patients said that by having the problem addressed, they felt less fatigued, less anxious and even experienced less pain.

A representative for Macmillan Cancer Support, Jacqui Graves, said: “It is heart-breaking to think cancer patients who are already dealing with the toughest fight of their lives are also struggling with depression, without adequate support.

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