Study: Depression in aging cancer patients should be treated in primary care

Far too often, primary-care doctors miss classic signs of depression when screening patients for other conditions. This week, a study makes note that one particularly vulnerable group is elderly cancer patients, and that a comprehensive program including depression care can significantly improve the quality of life for many such patients.

To examine the issue of depression management in this population, researchers looked at the results of a "collaborative care" program, known as Improving Mood-Promoting Access to Collaborative Treatment (IMPACT), which included not only standard cancer treatment, but also medication and other depression help supervised by the PCP and a psychiatrist.

The study, which was published in a supplement to the Journal of General Medicine, concluded that 55 percent of older patients who received collaborative treatment showed a 50 percent or greater reduction in depression symptoms. Only 34 percent of those receiving standard cancer treatment showed depression improvement.

Meanwhile, patients getting collaborative care had more depression-free days, functioned better, thought of death less often and felt less tired, researchers said.

To learn more about the study:
- read this UPI piece

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