Oncologist Questions Depression

Can cancer cause depression symptoms?

My mother is 48 years old and has been diagnosed with cancer. We have started her treatment for the disease. However, she feels very depressed. I've noticed it for a while but recently she has said it herself. Is it a normal side effect of the treatment?

5 Answers

This is very common and should not be ignored. A diagnosis of cancer is a life changing event and we all deal with it in different ways. It's normal to feel down a little bit at first but with the help of your doctor and family and hopefully a good prognosis her mood should improve. If she is religious then her pastor or faith leader may help her as well. I also refer my patients to a psychologist whom specializes in counseling cancer patients and helps them deal with their diagnosis, treatment and outcomes. There is nothing wrong with going to counseling or getting on low dose meds for depression if absolutely necessary . Of course a great family and support system goes a long way. Good luck!
Depression is common in cancer regardless of the type of treatment given. It is estimated that eighty percent of cancer patients will experience depression type symptoms sometime during the treatment course. Depression can even occur after the completion of treatment.
Generally, when people that they have cancer, they have a belief system that tells them their outcome is hopeless. This is usually NOT the case. Your mother should air her feelings with her cancer physician. It may be necessary for her to be evaluated by a psychiatrist. It is not a normal side effect of cancer treatment.
Yes, cancer can cause depression in the majority of patients!
It’s not a side effect of the cancer itself but can be a side effect of different treatment or could be caused from the emotional stress caused by cancer.