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Prevalence of anxiety and depression in cancer patients during radiotherapy: A rural Indian perspective

1 Department of Radiation Oncology, Army Hospital (Research and Referral), New Delhi, India
2 Department of Radiation Oncology, Command Hospital (Southern Command), Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Abhishek Purkayastha,
Department of Radiation Oncology, Command Hospital (Southern Command), Pune - 411 040, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcrt.JCRT_277_19

Objective: This cross-sectional, quantitative epidemiological study was aimed at finding the prevalence of depression in cancer patients and correlation of anxiety and depression with various factors such as age, sex, and type of malignancy while coming for treatment to the radiotherapy department of a tertiary cancer hospital, at the onset, midway, and at the end of radiotherapy treatment using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Materials and Methods: A total of 100 consecutive cancer patients referred for definitive radiotherapy were included. All patients were administered the HADS. The percentage of respondents with anxiety increased significantly after initiating RT and maximum scores were recorded at the end of treatment. The association between anxiety scores and various factors such as age, site, and sex during various phases of RT was found using Chi-square test. Results: At the beginning of Radiotherapy (RT), 61% of our patients reported abnormal scores while this percentage increased to almost 89% at the end of treatment, the comparison between the scores at the beginning and at the end reach a statistical significance (P < 0.0005) while the comparison between the scores at the start and midway led to (P < 0.011). According to the subsite, maximum prevalence of anxiety and depression was seen in patients having head and neck malignancies while older age again was a significant factor leading to the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Conclusion: The diagnosis of cancer carries with it a significant amount of psychological morbidity, both subjectively experienced and objectively observed. Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy further aggravate anxiety by becoming additional stressors.

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