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Depression in Cancer Care 

Depression in Cancer Care
Chapter:
Depression in Cancer Care
Author(s):

Daisuke Fujisawa

and Yosuke Uchitomi

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190491857.003.0002
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date: 18 August 2019

This chapter deals with depression as a common syndrome affecting 15% to 30% of cancer patients. It impairs patients’ well-being in multiple aspects, as well as being associated with shorter survival. A wide range of physical, neurological, and mental conditions are listed as key differentials. Cancer-related fatigue is one of the common differentials. Treatment of depression should be based on severity of illness and on patients’ preferences. Good communication between medical providers and patients, and holistic care based on comprehensive needs’ assessment, which is usually done by using screening tools, are fundamental to the treatment and prevention of depression. Psychotherapy (psychological treatment) is indicated for all levels of depression severity. Pharmacotherapy (e.g., antidepressants) is an option for mild to moderate depression and is a requirement for severe depression. All treatments should be tailored based on patients’ preference, their physical condition, and access to care.

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