Depression in Cancer Patients

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Most people aren’t surprised to learn that depression and cancer often go hand-in-hand. Facing a serious medical condition like cancer can leave a person feeling vulnerable, helpless and anxious, and those emotions can lead to or worsen depression. Whether you’ve just been diagnosed or are in the middle of treatment, cancer-related depression can occur.

What Is Cancer Depression?

Cancer-related depression (sometimes referred to simply as cancer depression) is exactly what it sounds like: clinical depression due to cancer. It’s important to note that this condition is different than just feeling sad, even if your sadness is intense at times. If you start to withdraw from friends and family, find it hard to get out of bed in the morning and have difficulty completing daily tasks that aren’t associated with your physical condition, you may have cancer-related depression.

Symptoms of Depression in Cancer Patients

People who suffer from depression due to cancer experience similar symptoms as people without cancer who are clinically depressed. These symptoms include:

● Persistent depressed mood or hopelessness
● Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping)
● Fatigue
● Lack of interest in activities previously enjoyed
● Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
● Irritability
● Trouble concentrating or remembering things
● Suicidal thoughts or actions

The degree and depth of depression can vary, and some people continue to experience depression after cancer treatment.

Tips for Managing Depression During Cancer

If you feel you’re depressed, there are steps you can take to help minimize your symptoms. For example, you can practice meditation, prayer, deep breathing, and relaxation exercises. You might also join a support group or meet with a counselor. Getting some physical activity can help as well. If your symptoms persist or worsen, your doctor may prescribe cancer depression treatment using antidepressant medication.

What’s important to remember is that you don’t have to suffer from cancer-related depression. If you’re experiencing it, you should ask for help.

Learn More About Cancer & Depression from Baptist Health

Keep learning about the facts of cancer and depression with Baptist Health’s blog. If you’re looking for treatment or more information about your cancer care, please contact an oncology provider with Baptist Health today.