Research has enabled many people with cancer to survive and lead full, productive lives, both while they are undergoing treatment, and afterwards. As with other serious illnesses, such as HIV, heart disease, or stroke, cancer can be accompanied by depression, which can affect mind, mood, body and behavior. Treatment for depression helps people manage both diseases, thus enhancing survival and quality of life.
People who face a cancer diagnosis will experience many stresses and emotional upheavals. Fear of death, interruption of life plans, changes in body image and self-esteem, changes in social role, lifestyle, and medical bills are important issues to be faced. Still, not everyone with cancer becomes depressed. Depression can exist before the diagnosis of cancer or may develop after the cancer is identified. While there is no evidence to support a causal role for depression in cancer, depression may impact the course of the disease and a person’s ability to participate in treatment. To learn more about cancer and mental health, visit the American Cancer Society.