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For Cancer Caregivers, Depression Can Worsen Physical Health

Posted On: 06-30-2017
For Cancer Caregivers, Depression Can Worsen Physical Health
A new study published by the American Cancer Society has found that the link between depression and worsened physical health may be especially strong for cancer caregivers.

The study was performed by a team from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The team analyzed survey responses from 664 caregivers and researchers were looking for changes in health from two years to eight years following a loved one’s cancer diagnosis. The survey came from the American Cancer Society.

The researchers found that health declined a small but notable amount by year eight, especially when compared to year two. The only predictor of worsened physical health appeared to be depression. Responders with significant depression signs experienced physical health decline twice as fast as those with average signs of depression.

The study’s researchers recommend that the mental health of cancer caregivers be evaluated soon after the diagnosis of their loved one in order to identify caregivers in need and then connect them with the right services. Cancer caregivers are exposed to many stressors and emotional and psychological challenges, and early intervention with the help of screening questions could help significantly.

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