Depression symptoms 'can affect lung cancer survival rates'

17 October 2016

A new study has highlighted a potentially important link between depression symptoms and a person's chances of surviving lung cancer.

Led by Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, the research followed more than 1,700 patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer between 2003 and 2005, who completed a depression assessment at diagnosis and again 12 months later.

Almost 40 per cent had experienced depressive symptoms at diagnosis, with 14 per cent seeing new-onset symptoms during treatment. Those who were depressed at the beginning of the study period were 17 per cent more likely to die during follow-up than those without depressive symptoms.

Compared to the 640 people who never developed depression symptoms, the 105 with new-onset symptoms were shown to be 50 per cent more likely to die, while the 254 people whose symptoms persisted throughout the study were 42 per cent more likely to die.

However, those who had depressive symptoms at diagnosis but had overcome them one year later had a similar risk of death to those who were never depressed.

Lead author Donald Sullivan of Oregon Health and Science University said the research "lends support to the idea that surveillance for depression symptoms and treatment for depression could provide significant impact on patient outcomes, perhaps even a mortality benefit".

Posted by Philip Briggs


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