New study finds a link between depression and breast cancer survival

The findings suggest that diagnosis and treatment of depression at the time of breast cancer diagnosis and beyond can be critical to patient care and survival. Photo: Pexels

(Becky Upham/ Everyday Health) — Depression and anxiety are (understandably) more common in people with a cancer diagnosis. It’s estimated that as many as one in four people with cancer also have depression, according to the National Cancer Institute.

A new study, published April 17 in the American Cancer Society’s journal Cancer, suggests that for women with breast cancer, depression may negatively impact the care they receive and their chances of survival.

The key takeaway from the study is that untreated depression is associated with decreased survival among female breast cancer patients, says the lead author, Bin Huang, PhD, an associate professor at the Markey Cancer Center in Lexington, Kentucky. “Depression management is important for breast cancer patients after diagnosis, as is maintaining continuity of care for patients with a depression pre-diagnosis. It can ultimately affect the patient’s long-term survival,” he says. (…)