Depression likely to raise risk of death among breast cancer patients: Study

New Delhi: Depression can significantly raise the risk of death in women with breast cancer — the most common cancer among females, and a leading cause of death globally — finds a study on Monday.

For the study, researchers from Russia analysed several studies on the impact of depression on the survival rates and quality of life for women diagnosed with breast cancer, between 1977 and 2018.

The findings presented at the European Psychiatric Association Congress 2024 in Hungary found that across different studies, the reported prevalence of depression among breast cancer patients varies from 4.5 per cent to 38 per cent.

Among patients with early-stage (stage I & II) cancer and depression, a 2-2.5-fold spike was seen with breast cancer-specific and all-cause mortality.

The study observed a 2.5 times greater risk of death in women with non-metastatic breast cancer within 8-15 years.

Overall, both depression and anxiety were found to negatively impact survival rates and reduce the quality of life for patients with breast cancer.

“There are still no universal methods for the screening of this mental health condition. It is likely that psychotherapy and antidepressant treatment may reduce the risk of psychological distress, but further research in this area is needed,” said Ilgiz G. Gataullin, Professor of the Department of Oncology, Radiology and Palliative Medicine of the Kazan State Medical Academy, Russia.

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