Anxiety More Common Than Depression in Cancer Survivors

By June 17, 2013Uncategorized

Information from a new study is showing that long-term cancer survivors are not at a higher risk of depression than they are of experiencing anxiety. The results of this study, which were published in The Lancet Oncology on June 5, also highlighted the fact that while survivors were at a high risk of anxiety, their partners were experiencing the same level of depression.

Lead author Alex Mitchell from Leicester General Hospital in the UK said: “Depression is an important problem after cancer but it tends to improve within 2 years of a diagnosis unless there is a further complication. Anxiety is less predictable and is a cause for concern even 10 years after a diagnosis. However, detection of anxiety has been overlooked compared with screening for distress or depression.”

Of this study, Mitchell concluded: “Our results suggest that, after a cancer diagnosis, increased rates of anxiety tend to persist in both patients and their relatives. When patients are discharged from hospital care they usually receive only periodic check-ups from their medical teams and this autonomy in the post-acute period can be anxiety-provoking. Further, the provision of rehabilitation and specialist emotional help is currently patchy. Efforts should be made to improve screening for anxiety and increase follow-up support for both survivors and their families.”

Depression is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It makes sense that PTSD would be a contributing factor since trauma is difficult to deal with. SSRIs are commonly used to treat depression but are linked to serious adverse effects. In fact, Paxil has been known to cause patients to suffer from violent and suicidal thoughts and behavior as well as lead to birth defects in babies born to mothers who take the pills while pregnant. The birth defects linked to Paxil use include PPHN, spina bifida, neural tube defects, oral clefts and heart, lung and brain defects. While depression events are not surprising in cancer survivors, the fact that anxiety levels were higher may be significant in treating cancer survivors later.

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