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Quality of Life and Psychotherapy (Depression & Anxiety)

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Depression and Anxiety often seem to go hand in hand with a cancer diagnosis, but a recent study shows that not only does Psychotherapy reduce the levels of Depression and Anxiety, but also increases Quality of Life (which in turn lengthens Survival Rates--

see http://www.lungevity.org/l_community/viewtopic.php?t=37598).

Abstract: Patient-oriented psychotherapy can objectively improve the quality of life (QOL) of oncological patients: From empiricism to science. Sub-category: Quality-of-Life Management Category: Patient Care Meeting: 2008 ASCO Annual Meeting. Abstract No: 20569. Citation: J Clin Oncol 26: 2008 (May 20 suppl; abstr 20569). Author(s): D. Gercovich, E. Gil Deza, P. Lopez, F. Torrente, P. Margiolakis, H. Hirsch, D. Bortolato, M. Morgenfeld, E. J. Rivarola, E. Morgenfeld, F. G. Gercovich.

Background: Although there has been an important development of psycho-oncology during the past few years, there is little objective evidence regarding the usefulness of psychotherapy in terms of QOL. The aim of this study was to evaluate the focalized psychotherapy with psychometric instruments that might allow us to document

objectively the pt´s response.

Material and Methods: Between January 2006 and December 2007, 114 oncological pt which had been referred for psychotherapy were studied. We identified two groups: Group A: 40 pt were treated exclusively with psychotherapy and Group B: 74 pt were treated with psychotherapy plus pharmacological treatment. Both groups were comparable in terms of age, diagnosis and stage of disease. The pt were evaluated with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS; Zigmond and Snaith, 1983) and the EORTC QLQ-C30 scale (Aaronson et al., 1993). The scores that were obtained in the admission interview and those obtained at the final session (mean time 8 weeks) were analyzed by the sign test.

Results: Significant statistical differences in the HADS and in the QLQ-C30 between admission and the final session were found in both groups as we can see in the table below.

Conclusion: The results obtained in this study suggest that 1) the pt have shown a significant decrease in the symptoms of anxiety and depression in Group A and anxiety in Group B 2) there has been an objective increase in the QOL in both groups. 3) the psychological support is -to our understanding- a relevant and scientifically proved tool for the wellbeing of the cancer pt.

Group A (n=40) Group B (n=74)

HADS total p=0.0001 p=0.0001

HADS anxiety p=0.0001 p=0.0001

HDAS depression p=0.0001 p=0.104

QLQ-C30 Global p=0.007 p=0.001

Source: http://www.asco.org/ASCO/Abstracts+%26+Virtual+Meeting/Abstracts&vmview=abst_detail_view&confID=55&abstractID=34703

On a personal note: I was dx'd in 01/07. For the first nine months I managed to hold depression at bay by strength of will and anxiety with Ativan (Lorazepam). By 10/07, however, I was forced to recognize that my "strength" of will was "weakening" and began seeing a therapist weekly. That decision was one of the best I've made since my dx: He helped me determine what factors set off my episodes and how I could "reorganize" my thinking to help keep this from happening. My improvement was so great that I rarely need Ativan any more (as vs. practically daily before).

Submitted by Carole

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