De­pres­sion ‘raises risk of cancer death’

Daily Mail - - Front Page - By Ben Spencer Med­i­cal Cor­re­spon­dent

BREAST cancer pa­tients who be­come de­pressed face a sig­nif­i­cantly higher risk of death, ex­perts have found.

A study of 77,000 women found those with de­pres­sion were 45 per cent more likely to die than those who were not de­pressed.

Doc­tors urged women to talk to ex­perts about their feel­ings to over­come the dra­mat­i­cally in­creased risk of mor­tal­ity.

They sus­pect cancer pa­tients who be­come de­pressed are likely to have a less healthy life­style and less likely to ac­cept treat­ment that could save their life. Chronic stress could also re­duce their chance of re­cov­ery.

The trend emerged af­ter sci­en­tists at King’s Col­lege Lon­don fol­lowed the progress of 77,173 breast cancer pa­tients for ten years.

Even af­ter tak­ing into ac­count other fac­tors that may have af­fected sur­vival – in­clud- ing age at cancer di­ag­no­sis, stage of cancer and wealth – de­pressed women were far less likely to sur­vive their dis­ease.

Lead re­searcher El­iz­a­beth Davies said: ‘Low mood and de­pres­sion are un­der­stand­able re­ac­tions to a breast cancer di­ag­no­sis.’

She added: ‘It is im­por­tant women feel they can talk about these feel­ings and do not feel guilty about dif­fi­culty cop­ing or de­pres­sion, which can be a nat­u­ral re­sponse to cancer di­ag­no­sis.’

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