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Posted by on May 19, 2015 in Breast cancer | 1 comment

In a nutshell

This article evaluated the benefits of psychology treatments for breast cancer patients with depression.

Some background

Many women with breast cancer also suffer from depression (22%). This can lead to a decreased quality of life and overall prognosis (treatment outcome).

'Psychodynamic psychotherapy' is a form of psychology that aims to ease a patients mental disorder through evaluation of their 'subconscious personal issues'. This type of psychology has proven effective in women with advanced cancers. 

Methods & findings

The aim of this study was to determine the effects of 'short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy' (STPP) in breast cancer patients with depression. A total of 106 women were evaluated; 52 underwent the STPP treatment while 54 did not (used as a comparison control group). In the STPP group, up to 20 psychotherapy sessions were offered once weekly, and these sessions were designed to deal with specific strategies for coping with life-threatening disease. Of these women, 32.7% had previously undergone psychotherapy; 43.1% of whom had undergone thisfor depression. All women had non-metastatic cancer (no cancer spread)  and were either undergoing or had completed breast cancer treatment.

56% of the patients in the STPP group who completed the entire study experienced depression remission (disappearance in symptoms of depression), almost double that of the control group (33%). 

There were no further cases of depression in 50% of the STPP patients compared to 35.9% of the control group. Those who underwent STPP were over 8 times more likely to show improvement in anxiety and depression levels, and 7 times more likely to avoid further cases of depression.  

The bottom line

The authors concluded that STPP can improve the outcomes of breast cancer patients with depression.

The fine print

This is the first trial of its kind.

What’s next?

Speak to your doctor if you are suffering with depression while being treated for breast cancer.

Published By :

Annals of oncology

Date :

Dec 16, 2013

Original Title :

Efficacy of short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (STPP) with depressed breast cancer patients: results of a randomized controlled multicenter trial.

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