-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- Feelings of shame, social
isolation and rejection can heighten depression in lung cancer
patients, a new study finds.
The findings may help explain why depression is more common
among lung cancer patients than among patients with other kinds of
cancer, according to the researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center
in Tampa, Fla.
"Given its strong association with tobacco use, lung cancer is commonly viewed as a preventable disease," study co-author Paul Jacobsen said in a Moffitt news release. "Consequently, patients may blame themselves for developing lung cancer and feel stigmatized. Even lung cancer patients who have never smoked often felt -- accurately or inaccurately -- that they were being blamed for their disease by friends, loved ones and even health-care professionals."
For the study, the researchers gave mental-health questionnaires
to lung cancer patients and found that 38 percent of them suffered
from depression. Greater levels of perceived stigma were associated
with greater levels of depression.
The study was published in the March issue of the journal
"Documenting this link between stigma and depression is important because it adds further evidence to the growing body of research suggesting a link between illness-related stigma and the symptoms of depression," Jacobsen said. "For example, studies on depression and HIV have found similar links between disease, stigma and depression."
The findings suggest that psychotherapeutic approaches might be
useful in treating or preventing depression in lung cancer
patients, study co-author Brian Gonzalez said.
"Many approaches to reducing perceived stigma focus on education of the public about lung cancer inaccuracies and stereotypes, and replacing those inaccuracies with facts," Gonzalez said in the news release.
"Instead, therapy that focuses on altering the patient's thoughts and feelings associated with their perceptions of stigma may prove effective in reducing depressive symptoms," Gonzalez said. "For example, emphasizing the addictiveness of tobacco products and the deception in tobacco-industry advertising could help patients view themselves as being 'wronged' rather than as a 'wrongdoer.'"
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about
depression and cancer.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.