Depression is a common mental health issue among women who are diagnosed with breast cancer, and a recent study has found that it may affect their chances of survival from the disease. The study, published in the journal Cancer, analyzed data from the Kentucky Cancer Registry to identify adult women diagnosed with primary invasive breast cancer from 2007 to 2011. The team found that having depression before or after a breast cancer diagnosis was associated with a lower likelihood of survival. The study authors reported that depression pre-diagnosis was associated with a 26% higher risk of death, while post-diagnosis depression was associated with a 50% higher risk of death. Additionally, people who didn’t receive guideline-recommended treatment faced a 118% higher risk of death. However, the most surprising result was that patients with persistent depression did not experience worse survival compared with patients with no depression. The findings emphasize the importance of monitoring a person for depression after a breast cancer diagnosis and screening for depression throughout a cancer patient’s care. Improvements in cancer care are needed to address potential health disparities and identify where depression management can be improved. Supportive care, also known as palliative care, should be offered and should continue as long as needed. According to recent statistics, breast cancer has surpassed lung cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide, and more women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer than any other type of cancer besides skin cancer, accounting for 1 in 3 of new female cancers annually.
Depression's Impact on Breast Cancer Survival Likelihood