Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

After the Cancer: Depression and Anxiety Missed in Older Survivors

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

After the Cancer: Depression and Anxiety Missed in Older Survivors

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Anxiety, depression, and pain are often overlooked in older cancer survivors, according to results of a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

In this study of 150 men who had been diagnosed with cancer an average of 3 years prior, pain, anxiety, and depression were common, occurring in 64%, 26%, and 21% of men, respectively, according to prospective analysis of responses to a questionnaire.

Despite the high frequency of these issues, in many cases, oncologists did not discuss pain and well-being with their patients. According to blinded chart reviews, oncologists did not inquire about pain in 22% of the men. Inquiries about mental health were more infrequent: 95% of men were not asked about anxiety, and 88% of men were not asked about depression.

Because of this failure to inquire about pain and mental health, a significant proportion of men with each condition was overlooked, including 18% of men with pain, 85% with anxiety, and 75% with depression.

In an interview during his poster presentation, Dr. Harvey Jay Cohen said this information is very relevant for primary care physicians. "People need to be aware that cancer survivors, older ones at least, not infrequently are anxious and showing signs of depression," said Dr. Cohen, professor and interim chair in the department of medicine and director of the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N. …

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