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Why should mental healthcare be included in cancer treatment?

The emotions of cancer are often more difficult to cope with than other medical problems. It is not surprising that approximately 50% of patients with cancer have some form of diagnosable psychiatric disorder at some point during their course of care. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found that at least 50 percent of patients with advanced or terminal cancer are suffering from anxiety, depression or an adjustment disorder. Unfortunately, less than half receive the help they need.

The researchers highlight the need to incorporate mental health care into the treatment plans for patients, as depression and anxiety can compromise one's quality of life, perhaps more so than physical pain. They also point out that oncologists and physicians can screen cancer patients for mental illness and refer patients for treatment and support groups.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.