Many cancer patients face mental problems

22 Sep 2016

The largest survey of mental disorders in cancer revealed that psychological problems are common in cancer patients. Continuous psychological support, tailored to the specific needs of cancer patients, can provide some relief.

The purpose of this study was to estimate the 12-month and lifetime prevalence rates of mental disorders in cancer patients. A representative sample of 2,141 patients with different cancer entities and stages in outpatient, inpatient and rehabilitation settings underwent the standardized computer-assisted Composite International Diagnostic Interview for mental disorders adapted for cancer patients (CIDI-O).


12-month prevalence rates of mental disorders

Results showed that the overall 12-month prevalence rates for mental disorders were as follows:

  • any mental disorder: 39.4%
  • anxiety disorders: 15.8%
  • mood disorders: 12.5%
  • somatoform disorders: 9.5%
  • nicotine dependence: 7.3%
  • disorders due to general medical condition: 3.7%; and
  • alcohol abuse or dependence: 1.1%. 

More than half the patients face mental disorders in their lifetimes

The study also reported the lifetime prevalence for these disorders. The results were as follows:

  • any mental disorder: 56.3%
  • anxiety disorders: 24.1%
  • mood disorders: 20.5%
  • somatoform disorders: 19.9%
  • nicotine dependence: 18.2%
  • disorders due to general medical condition: 4.6%
  • alcohol abuse or dependence: 6.4%; and
  • eating disorders: 0.2%.

Psychological support is important

Authors concluded that mental disorders are highly prevalent in cancer patients, indicating the need for provision of continuous psycho-oncological support from inpatient to outpatient care, leading to an appropriate allocation of direct personnel and other resources.


Source: Medical News Today

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