How frequent are mental disorders in cancer patients?

In an investigation published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics a group of German investigators provides the largest survey of mental disorders in cancer. Psychological problems are common in cancer patients. For the purpose of planning psycho-oncological interventions and services tailored to the specific needs of different cancer patient populations, it is necessary to know to what extent psychological problems meet the criteria of mental disorders.

The purpose of this study was to estimate the 12-month and lifetime prevalence rates of in cancer patients. A representative sample of patients with different cancer entities and stages (n = 2,141) in outpatient, inpatient and rehabilitation settings underwent the standardized computer-assisted Composite International Diagnostic Interview for mental disorders adapted for cancer patients (CIDI-O).

Results showed that the overall 12-month prevalence for any mental disorder was 39.4% (95% CI: 37.3-41.5), that for anxiety disorders was 15.8% (95% CI: 14.4-17.4), 12.5% (95% CI: 11.3-14.0) for mood disorders, 9.5% (95% CI: 8.3-10.9) for somatoform disorders, 7.3% (95% CI: 6.2-8.5) for nicotine dependence, 3.7% (95% CI: 3.0-4.6) for disorders due to general medical condition, and 1.1% (95% CI: 0.7-1.6) for alcohol abuse or dependence. Lifetime prevalence for any mental disorder was 56.3% (95% CI 54.1-58.6), that for anxiety disorders was 24.1% (95% CI: 22.3-25.9), 20.5% (95% CI: 18.9-22.3) for mood disorders, 19.9% (95% CI: 18.3-21.7) for somatoform disorders, 18.2% (95% CI: 16.6-20.0) for nicotine dependence, 6.4% (95% CI: 5.4-7.6) for alcohol abuse or dependence, 4.6% (95% CI: 3.8-5.6) for disorders due to general medical condition, and 0.2% (95% CI: 0.1-0.6) for eating disorders.

Authors concluded that mental disorders are highly prevalent in , indicating the need for provision of continuous psycho-oncological support from inpatient to outpatient care, leading to an appropriate allocation of direct personnel and other resources.

Explore further

Recent cancer diagnosis associated with increased risk of mental health disorders

More information: Susanne Kuhnt et al. Twelve-Month and Lifetime Prevalence of Mental Disorders in Cancer Patients, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics (2016). DOI: 10.1159/000446991
Journal information: Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics

Provided by Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics
Citation: How frequent are mental disorders in cancer patients? (2016, September 22) retrieved 26 October 2020 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments