Do Cancer Treatments Cause Depression?

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Well there are a few treatments that actually cause depression. There's a medicine used for adrenal cell cancer called myvatn that's associated with a high incidents of depression especially in people who are prone to depression. Drugs like interferon or alfa interferon used in melanoma patients can also cause a significant amount of depression but it's a little more complicated than that.

We also really believe that there are some cancers that are intimately involved with the development of depression even before they're treated so for a example pancreatic cancer. When the pancreas starts to break down and the proteins go through the system most go right into the brain like alcohol and caffeine and those are responsible for a good deal of depression.

Apart from those sort of biological things, many people believe that everybody who gets cancer gets depressed, and we know, from good studies, replicated many times, in many populations over many circumstances for 30 years, but that's not so. It's about 25-30% of people who develop a serious depression.

Everybody get upset but not developing a serious depression, and of those 25 or 30% if they had an episode of depression in the past or someone close blood relative has serious depression or drug abuse problem, it's something biological that runs in the family.