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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 136-139

Prevalence of psychiatric disorder in asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cancer patients on treatment

1 Department of Radiotherapy, A.H.R.C.C, Cuttack, Orissa and Department of Radiation Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, S.C.B. Medical College, Cuttack, Orissa, India
3 Department of Radiotherapy, A.H.R.C.C, Cuttack, Orissa, India
4 Department of Radiation Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India

Correspondence Address:
Sanjib Kumar Mishra
Department of Radiation Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1482.27590

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Background: Cancer not only affects organ systems physically but can also affect the mind as a psychiatric disorder. Appropriate treatment can be clinically efficacious and cost-effective. With this background, a study was conducted in a regional cancer center to assess the prevalence of psychiatric disorder amongst cancer patients and correlate it with socio-demographic parameters. Materials and Methods: Asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cancer patients on active anticancer treatment, fulfilling inclusion criteria, were served psychiatric assessment questionnaire. The demographic and the medical data were obtained from subjects and their medical records. Correlation of prevalence of psychiatric disorder with socio-demographic parameters was done using the Chi-square test. Results: Thirty-eight patients returned the questionnaire duly filled. Of them, 24 (63%) had some psychiatric disorder. All these 24 patients were suffering from depression - 15 (63%) from major depression and 9 (37%) from minor depression. Only 6 (25%) patients had anxiety disorder. The prevalence of psychiatric disorder in patients aware of the diagnosis and prognosis was 58 and 55% respectively. This was significantly higher as compared to the patients who were not aware of their diagnosis and prognosis ( P -value 0.019 and 0.05 respectively). Conclusion: High prevalence of psychiatric disorder, especially depression, amongst the cancer patients - particularly in those who were aware of the diagnosis and prognosis. A majority of these disorders are eminently treatable. Routine psychiatric evaluation of all cancer patients is a matter of debate that needs to be addressed in larger prospective surveys.

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