Intervention Benefits Depressed Cancer Patients

Compared to usual care, it significantly improves depression scores for up to one year
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 4 (HealthDay News) -- A nurse-delivered intervention -- Depression Care for People with Cancer -- may be a beneficial and cost-effective strategy for managing major depressive disorder in patients with cancer and other medical disorders, according to an article published in the July 5 issue of The Lancet.

Vanessa Strong, Ph.D., of the University of Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre and Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, U.K., and colleagues randomly assigned 200 depressed cancer patients (mean age 56.6 years) with a prognosis of more than six months to either the intervention or usual care.

After three months, the researchers found that the adjusted difference in mean Symptom Checklist-20 depression scores was 0.34 between the intervention and usual care groups. They also unexpectedly found that this treatment effect was sustained at six and 12 months. They calculated that the intervention would cost $10,556 per quality-adjusted life-year gained.

"In further trials (SMaRT oncology 2 and 3), we aim to investigate whether Depression Care for People with Cancer is cost effective if implemented on a large scale and if screening, training of nurses, and other costs are fully assessed and whether this intervention can also benefit patients who have cancers with poor prognoses, such as lung cancer," the authors write.

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