Depression ‘raises risk of cancer death’
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.’