Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Symptoms of Depression Signal Shorter Lives for People with Cancer


A diagnosis of cancer carries such emotional upheaval that a person’s prolonged feelings of depression can eat away at the possibility for long-term survival. In a new study of cancer patients published in the current issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, researchers have found that people’s lives were more likely to be cut short when they had more symptoms of depression.

University of Rochester psychologist Kirk Warren Brown and co-authors used a number of demographic, medical, cancer treatment, and psychological factors to predict longevity in a group of 205 cancer patients over a 10-year period.

Among the psychological factors examined in this study on psychological distress and cancer survival were a variety of indicators of emotional state and coping, including positive and negative mood, anxiety, stress, sense of control, and depressive symptoms. After accounting for the effects of known demographic, medical risk, and cancer treatment factors, results showed that symptoms of depression were the most consistent psychological predictor of shortened survival.

Looking at psychological predictors of survival among individuals with cancer is a relatively new area of study, says Brown, visiting assistant professor in the Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology. "We’re trying to understand the role of the mind in the disease process. The fact that depressive symptoms were shown to affect the course of cancer in this study has important implications for psychological screening and treatment of cancer patients."

The researchers suggested that the first year after cancer diagnosis would be an appropriate time to screen for symptoms of depression because, on average, levels of distress remained stable and relatively high in the patients studied. Referrals for intervention, such as psychotherapy, might be appropriate for patients with elevated levels of distress.

All 205 patients in the study were newly diagnosed with cancer (approximately 48 percent of the group had breast cancer). At the end of the 10-year follow-up period--a long time for this type of study--125 were still alive while 80 had died from cancer-related causes.

The role of a person’s mental state in cancer survival is considered controversial in the medical field, but Brown believes that the findings of this study, in conjunction with other research results, suggest that a "truly interdisciplinary approach" to treating the patient as a whole person is essential.

Brown’s co-authors on the study were Adrian R. Levy of the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver; Zeev Rosberger of the Division of Psychology of the Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital in Montreal; and Linda Edgar of the McGill University Health Center at the Royal Victorian Hospital in Montreal. The research was supported by the National Cancer Institute of Canada with funds from the Canadian Cancer Society.

Sharon Dickman | University of Rochester
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

A new kind of quantum bits in two dimensions

19.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists have a new way to gauge the growth of nanowires

19.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>