Nurse-led treatment 'reduces depression in cancer'
The number of cancer patients who are clinically depressed could be drastically reduced through nurse-led treatments, researchers believe.
Researchers from the universities of Edinburgh and Oxford found that three-quarters of cancer patients are clinically depressed.
However, 75% of these patients were not receiving treatment and many had not considered seeking help. Healthcare professionals had been failing to spot their illness.
Researchers suggested that a trained cancer nurse should deliver the intensive, tailored approach.
- Antidepressant drugs.
- Encouraging patients to become as active as they can be.
- Problem-solving therapy.
Published in the Lancet, the study found that a nurse-led approach can half the depression scores of more than 60% of patients. Patients were found to be less anxious, less tired and experienced less pain.
Just 17% of patients receiving standard NHS care had similar results.
Dr Stefan Symeonides, of the University of Edinburgh, told the BBC: "Day-to-day oncologists like myself see the profound impact depression can have on a patient with cancer.
" [This is] a huge area of unmet need missed by current practice."