Prevalence of depression in patients with cancer

Dr. Daniela Havăreanu-Bica1,3, Prof. univ. dr. Daniela Moșoiu2,4

1Spitalul Clinic Județean de Urgență Sibiu, România, 2Universitatea Transilvania Facultatea de Medicină Brașov, România, 3Medicină internă, 4Oncologie

Primit: 12.03.2022 • Acceptat pentru publicare: 31.03.2022


Depression remains undiagnosed most of the time in oncological practice, which will eventually lead to an unfavourable evolution of the neoplastic disease. For this reason, there has been a growing interest in the use of effective screening methods. The most widely used method is the clinical interview method and self-assessment scales that can measure the level of depression and allow a long-term monitoring of this disorder. Objectives: this study wants to identify the prevalence of reactive depression and endogenous depression in patients diagnosed with various types of cancer, but also to identify their degree of depression, to benefit from treatment and psychological support. Materials and methods: the study was performed in the Oncology Department of the Emergency County Clinical Hospital in Sibiu, between January 2020 and June 2021. The study was prospective, quantitative and observational, using the Beck questionnaire to collect data, which aims to assess depression and indicates the presence and severity of depression. 50 questionnaires were filled. The data obtained were analysed, synthesized and processed to characterize the sample and to see if the established objectives were met. Results, discussion: 45 correctly filled questionnaires were obtained. Most of the patients surveyed came from urban areas, with an equal percentage of women and men. The data show, that many patients had depressive – mostly mild – symptoms, women more than men. Depressive symptoms occurred after diagnosis of the disease. Most patients experienced somatic symptoms, regardless the level of depression. The somatic symptoms in the Beck Scale are identical with the clinical symptoms of neoplastic diseases. We may consider that the Beck Scale is not the first-aid tool in diagnosing depression in cancer patients, because many symptoms overlap. Conclusion: The results show, that the degree of depression of the examined cancer patients is in accordance with findings of other authors. Identifying a screening tool that is more sensitive to the symptoms of cancer may be another topic of ​​research.

Keywords: prevalence, cancer patients, depression, pandemic