Publications (2)3.34 Total impact
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ABSTRACT: Objective:Depression is a frequent problem in cancer patients, which is known to reduce quality of life; however, many cancer patients with depression are not treated because of the difficulties in assessing depression in this population. Our aim was to evaluate and improve the depression assessment strategies of palliative care (PC) physicians and oncologists.Method:We invited all medical oncologists and PC physicians from three cancer centers to participate in this multicenter prospective study. They were asked to classify 22 symptoms (related and specific to depression in cancer patients, related but not specific, and unrelated) as "very important," "important," "less important," or "not important" for the diagnosis of depression in cancer patients, at three different time points (at baseline, after a video education program, and after 4 weeks). They were also asked to complete a questionnaire exploring physicians' perceptions of depression and of their role in its systematic screening.Results:All 34 eligible physicians participated. Baseline performance was good, with >70% of participants correctly classifying at least seven of nine related and specific symptoms. We found no significant improvement in scores in the immediate and 4-week follow-up tests. Additionally, 24 (83%) and 23 (79%) participants expressed support for systematic depression screening and a role for oncologists in screening, respectively.Significance of results:Oncologists had good baseline knowledge about depression's main symptoms in cancer patients and a positive attitude toward being involved in screening. Underdiagnosis of depression is probably related to problems associated with the oncology working environment rather than the physicians' knowledge.
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ABSTRACT: Depression occurs among an estimated 15% of cancer patients (range, 1-77.5%). Our main objective was to identify the frequency of reported depression by using the Brief Edinburgh Depression Scale (BEDS) among cancer outpatients. Our secondary objective was to identify associated symptoms of cancer using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) and to evaluate the screening performance of depression between ESAS and BEDS. In this multicenter prospective study conducted, we used the ESAS to collect information on nine symptoms: pain, fatigue, nausea, depression, anxiety, drowsiness, shortness of breath, lack of appetite, and feeling of well-being (each rated from 0 to 10). The BEDS was used to assess for "probable depression" (score >6). Data were analyzed using a parametric and nonparametric test. A total of 146 patients completed the study. The prevalence of probable depression was 43/146 (29%). Probable depression was associated with increased fatigue (p = 0.008), depression (p < 0.0001), anxiety (p < 0.0001), shortness of breath (p = 0.01), and decreased feeling of well-being (p < 0.001). Among patients with probable depression, 42 (98%) patients were not using antidepressants. Regarding the sensitivity and the specificity, we determined that the optimal cutoff for using the ESAS as a depression screening tool was ≥2. We found significant associations between probable depression as determined with the BEDS and five symptoms as detected with the ESAS. The vast majority of patients with probable depression were not receiving pharmacological treatment. Depression should be suspected in patients with higher symptom distress as for any one of these 5 ESAS items.