Three in four cancer patients with depression are not getting adequate treatment, studies find

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 28 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5358
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

Major depression in patients with cancer is often “missed” or “overlooked” such that nearly three quarters are not receiving adequate treatment, research has found. Many of these patients would benefit from a new integrated treatment programme found to be “strikingly” more effective than current care at reducing depression and improving the quality of life, the researchers said.

The research findings were contained in three papers, funded by Cancer Research UK and the Scottish government and published simultaneously across three Lancet journals on 28 August (the Lancet, Lancet Psychiatry, and Lancet Oncology).

One study analysed data from more than 21 000 patients attending cancer clinics in Scotland who had been screened for depression. The researchers said that it was the first report on the prevalence of depression in patients with cancer that was based on a large scale screening service involving rigorous interviews and expert cancer diagnoses.1 It found that major depression was most commonly diagnosed in patients with …

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