Cancer News Network

Cancer Awareness , Developments in Cancer Research and News on Cancer

Friday, January 26, 2007

Scientists develop new tool to help cancer patients in coping with their disease

Innovations Report: A tool to detect depression in cancer patients launched by the University of Liverpool will vastly improve patients’ ability to come to terms with their disease.

Depression affects 25% of patients with advanced cancer – the stage at which the disease has begun to spread from its original tumour. At this stage, depression is difficult to diagnose as symptoms can be confused with a patient displaying ‘appropriate sadness’ – feelings which commonly result from suffering a terminal illness.

A team from the University’s Division of Primary Care has created a method of testing for depression so clinicians can introduce additional treatment to enable patients to cope with the cancer more effectively. The tool could also be applied to sufferers of other serious illnesses such as
Parkinson’s Disease and chronic heart disease.
Based on a screening system originally developed for sufferers of post-natal depression, the new tool - known as the ‘Brief Edinburgh Depression Scale’ (BEDS) - includes a six-step scale that assesses a cancer patient’s mental condition. The test includes questions on worthlessness, guilt and suicidal thoughts.

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