Three papers published in The Lancet Psychiatry, The Lancet, and The Lancet Oncology today reveal that around three-quarters of cancer patients who have severe depression are not currently receiving treatment for depression. An analysis of data from more than 21 000 patients attending cancer clinics in Scotland, UK, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, found that major depression is substantially more common in cancer patients than in the general population.
However, in a trial involving 500 people with cancer and severe depression, researchers found that providing treatment for depression not only improved mental health but also reduced pain and tiredness and improved quality of life overall.
Commenting on the research, Mind's Chief Executive Paul Farmer said:
"Too often mental and physical health problems are treated separately, without much attention given to the person as a whole. Being physically unwell can take its toll on a person’s mental health, while having a mental health problem can lead to physical health problems and reduced life expectancy. It seems obvious that being diagnosed with and undergoing treatment for something as serious as cancer is going to have an impact on someone’s mental wellbeing. We need to see better integration of physical and mental health services so that the mental wellbeing of those being treated for physical health problems is given due consideration."