‘Depressed cancer patients have higher risk of death’

Lee Han-soo  Published 2019.12.20  16:30  Updated 2019.12.20 16:30


Researchers at Seoul National University Hospital have found that depression can increase the risk of death for cancer patients.

Professor Go Ah-ryung

The team, led by Professor Go Ah-ryung at the hospital, concluded so by following 11,065 people who survived at least five years after being diagnosed with cancer from 2004 to 2009. Of the total patients, 343 were diagnosed with depression within two years of a cancer diagnosis.

The results showed that 343 long-term cancer survivors with a history of depression were at least half as more likely to die compared to the remaining 10,722 long-term cancer survivors.

The team also found that the trend was more common in men. The mortality risk rate of long-term cancer survivors among men with depression was about 78 percent higher than that of cancer patients without depression.

“Many studies have revealed the effects of mental health on physical health,” the team said. “However, studies analyzing the relationship between depression and cancer mortality were insufficient.”

The study found that the history of depression could adversely affect the long-term survival prognosis of cancer patients, the team added.

Professor Go also said, “This study confirms that the mental health of cancer patients can affect long-term survival prognosis. As current cancer care programs tend to be confined to the body, a cancer mental health program need to be developed.”

Scientific Reports published the results of the study.

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