ASTRO 2017: Urban Cancer Center Finds 75% of Its Patients With Depression Were Previously Undiagnosed

parasomnia“Depression prevalence continues to be high among cancer patients, especially those receiving treatment at an urban cancer center, as well as those who identify as female or are disabled by their disease. Alarmingly, most of these patients remain undiagnosed and untreated, indicating an important gap in cancer care and an opportunity to improve patient outcomes,”.

Data from recent STUDY demonstrates a marked increase in the prevalence of depression in our urban cancer patient cohort (40%) as compared to the general cancer patient population (15-25%). Importantly, of the 40% screening positive for depression, 75% of those were previously undiagnosed, indicating an important modifiable risk factor for decreased quality of life in these patients. Further, they found a significantly increased risk of depression in female patients, and in those who are unable to work due to disability. Together, the findings support an increased need to screen cancer patients for depression, especially those who are female-identifying and disabled, in order to improve patients’ quality of life and outcomes.

A. Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same two-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.
NOTE: Do not include symptoms that are clearly attributable to another medical condition.
1) Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (eg, feels sad, empty, hopeless) or observations made by others (eg, appears tearful). (NOTE: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood.)
2) Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation)
3) Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (eg, a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. (NOTE: In children, consider failure to make expected weight gain.)
4) Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day
5) Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down)
6) Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
7) Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick)
8) Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by their subjective account or as observed by others)
9) Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide
B. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
C. The episode is not attributable to the direct physiological effects of a substance or to another medical condition.
NOTE: Criteria A through C represent a major depressive episode.
NOTE: Responses to a significant loss (eg, bereavement, financial ruin, losses from a natural disaster, a serious medical illness or disability) may include the feelings of intense sadness, rumination about the loss, insomnia, poor appetite, and weight loss noted in Criterion A, which may resemble a depressive episode. Although such symptoms may be understandable or considered appropriate to the loss, the presence of a major depressive episode in addition to the normal response to a significant loss should also be carefully considered. This decision inevitably requires the exercise of clinical judgement based on the individual’s history and the cultural norms for the expression of distress in the context of loss.
D. The occurence of the major depressive episode is not better explained by schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, delusional disorder, or other specified and unspecified schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.
E. There has never been a manic or hypomanic episode.
NOTE: This exclusion does not apply if all of the manic-like or hypomanic-like epsidoes are substance-induced or are attributable to the physiological effects of another medical condition.
With anxious distress
With mixed features
With melancholic features
With atypical features
With psychotic features
With catatonia
With peripartum onset
With seasonal pattern
Reprinted with permission from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, (Copyright © 2013). American Psychiatric Association.


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