We all know that anxiety, stress and depression is taxing on our overall health; and it’s not surprising that cancer patients may experience significant emotional distress. But now according to a recent study, published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, experiencing anxiety and depression while having advanced lung cancer may also increase mortality risk.
This study is among the first to exam the relationship between anxiety/depression and survival rates of lung cancer patients. Researchers followed 684 lung cancer patients (whose survival rates were only 30 to 46 percent after one year) undergoing treatment at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver and Surrey. Once the patients completed a psychological screening questionnaire and after controlling factors like age, sex, ethnicity, treatment, etc., researchers found that those who felt anxious and depressed had a higher mortality risk.
According to the media release, “While the effect was small, the researchers were able to document it because of the large patient sample and controlled method.” While it is likely that other unmeasured factors could play a role in these findings, it’s still a significant link worthy of further exploration. As the study concludes, psychological interventions could potentially influence the length of survival in lung cancer patients.
The researchers are now looking at the long-term effect that psychosocial factors can have on the survival rates for patients with prostate cancer.
To learn more about this study, read the news release here and the study abstract here.
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