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Depression in older cancer patients can be effectively treated with collaborative approach
Date:10/20/2009

cancer patients compared to the general population, and the risk is even higher with older age. Some depressed patients question if cancer treatment is worth it, even if they don't plan to end their lives. Patients may rebuff family and friends, and feel incapable of making arrangements for the future.

"Depression may persist after the cancer is successfully treated or in remission. They have survived the disease, but still can't re-engage in life." Unutzer added. "Patients may feel unable to enjoy or make use of the time that has been added to their life."

The elderly are the largest segment of our population with cancer, and older cancer patients are becoming a significant segment of primary care practice, Fann and Unutzer said. By supporting depression care in primary-care settings, they added, health-care providers can help older cancer patients truly benefit from advances in cancer treatment by improving their quality of life.

Their suggestion to older cancer patients: "If you have depression, you don't have to 'just live with it.' Treatment may increase the odds that you will feel less tired and feel more like getting on with life. You dealt with cancer, and you can do something about depression."


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Contact: Leila Gray
leilag@u.washington.edu
206-685-0381
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

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