But many high-risk women who should get scanned don't, experts add
MONDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- A simple two-question survey can accurately screen cancer patients for depression, according to a new study.
The survey asks patients whether, in the last two weeks, they have experienced little interest or pleasure in doing things, or felt down, depressed or hopeless. The patients are given a score based on their answers to the two questions.
For each question, a patient can answer: not at all (worth zero points), several days (1 point), more than half the days (2 points), or nearly every day (3 points). Patients who score a total of at least 3 points on both questions are considered to be at risk for having depression.
The screening test was assessed in a study that included 455 cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy at 37 centers in the United States. They were surveyed before or within two weeks of undergoing their first radiation treatment. Of the participants, 16 percent screened positive for depression.
The researchers found that the two-question screening test was just as accurate in screening for depression as a longer nine-question screening test, according to the findings, which are scheduled for presentation Monday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.
"We found that a two-question survey can effectively screen for depression," Dr. William Small Jr., chair of the department of radiation oncology of Loyola University Medical Center, said in a Loyola news release. "We hope this will prompt more centers to screen for depression, and to refer patients for treatment when necessary."
He and his colleagues also found that 78 percent of radiation therapy centers routinely screen patients for depression, with half screening at the initial visit. Sixty-eight percent of radiation therapy facilities offered mental health services. However, 67 percent of sites had only social workers available; 22 percent offered psychiatrists, and 17 percent offered psychologists.
"We think the results of this large, nationwide trial will have a major impact on how cancer patients are screened for depression," Small said.
Because this study was to be presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about depression and cancer.
SOURCE: Loyola University Medical Center, news release, Sept. 23, 2013
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Thu Sep 26, 2013 01:14 PM
Interesting. I am on a none invasive trial for my prostate cancer (nitro glycerine) which is working well and I go through quite bad bouts of depression. Not as bad as a number of years ago when having hormone therapy. There are triggers. Eg. when I go through periods of really wanting to make love to my wife and for me this is not possible (extreme incontinence and inability to get an erection for starters). Also when the incontinence stops me from doing some of favourite pastimes like yacht racing, and as the time for my PSA test approaches. Sometimes I think that to be dead would be a resolution but then I remind myself that suicide would be selfish as my wife would have no income and my son would have no finance for university. However is just more thing cancer patients have to contend with.
Thu Sep 26, 2013 02:54 PM
My husband has colon cancer - at times eating ok other times not - in the last 4 days - he is not eating at all - just liquids - becomes very emotional - he has survived 12 months so far longer than expected - it has been almost 19 months now - he appears to be losing interest in everything - and it is very stressful to watch - as at times he yells out - he is very thin - does not seem interested in very much these days - someone from hospice is coming to see him next week - this should help with his emotional and psychological issues - to all going through something similar in their lives I will say a prayer for you
Fri Sep 27, 2013 01:19 AM
Mon Sep 30, 2013 02:21 AM
I am a 5 year survivor of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The treatment has left me with little saliva. I have to eat moist soft foods and I have to limit my activities. Having no saliva to moisten my throat has made life very hard. Quality of life has been effected dramatically. Anxiety almost 24/7. I know I am depressed, but all antidepressants cause dry mouth. I just have to grin and bear it. It is amazing how just a lack of saliva can be so debilitating.
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