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article imageA third of cancer patients go through psychological disorders

By Sravanth Verma     Oct 10, 2014 in Health
A study from the University of Leipzig has found that one in three cancer patients develop mental illness. According to the study, this almost 50% higher than the rate in the general population, which stands at around 20%.
The study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology reports that 42% of breast cancer patients and 41% of neck and head cancer patients suffered from mental illness. Additionally, 39% of malignant melanoma patients, 22% of prostate and 21% of stomach cancer patients also go through psychological disorders.About one-fifth of pancreatic cancer patients deal with depression or anxiety.
Dr. Anja Mehnert, professor of psychosocial oncology at the university and the paper's lead author said that despite certain cancers such as breast cancer being less difficult to treat, they experienced higher distress levels than patients with cancers such as stomach and pancreatic cancers, which are harder to treat. "It is normal to feel distress if you have cancer. It's not unusual to develop a mental disorder," she said. "You don't have to feel ashamed. Many people still think that if they see a mental health professional, they are weak and not able to cope well with their disease. That's just not so."
Several studies have looked at how cancer patients can cope with the debilitating effects of the ailment, and many practices such as yoga for cancer patients have been suggested as a support during diagnosis and chemotherapy. However, this is one of the largest studies to quantify the extent to which patients can undergo mental distress. The study worked with 2100 patients in several in and outpatient treatment centers in Germany, and used diagnostic tools as well as interviews to estimate that 32% of patients go through psychological disorders due to the diagnosis of cancer.
“We want to reassure patients who are struggling that they are not alone or unique and that these mental and emotional challenges can be temporary, especially with effective psychological support or state-of-the-art mental health treatment,” said Mehnert.
More about Cancer, Mental disorders, Cancer research
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