Nursing Strategies for Managing Depression in Patients With Cancer

depressiong688540222 1491117 — Emotional Well-being, Mental Health, Psychiatrists, Psychologists

A literature overview on screening, assessing, and managing of depression in patients with cancer was summarized and the researchers’ suggestions have been presented in a current report in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing.

“Depression is not a typical part of surviving cancer and is often amenable to pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions,” the researchers explained in their report.

To execute the literature overview, the researchers searched numerous databases, such as the Applied Science and Technology Source, CINAHL®, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, MEDLINE®, and PsycINFO®. The database searchers made use of terms such as cancer, depression, nonpharmacological interventions, mindfulness, psychotherapy, and spirituality, with the objective of identifying patterns in screening, nursing assessment, and nonpharmacologic remedy in patients with cancer who had depression.

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A total of 248 exclusive articles have been identified in by way of searches of these, 13 have been chosen for additional overview. Publication dates ranged from 2015 by way of 2020. Insights into practices for screening, assessment, and nonpharmacologic management have been extracted from the articles.

Patients with cancer can show a wide variety of feelings and behaviors connected to their diagnosis, but the researchers determined that cancer severity itself was not a predictor of a patient’s reaction to the cancer diagnosis. However, severity of symptoms identified in self-reporting of depression symptoms was discovered to be a substantial predictor of depression.

The researchers encouraged oncology nurses show openness to discussing emotional issues and symptom severity, such as by employing reflective listening. The Patient Health Questionnaire and Center for Epidemiological Studies — Depression scale also was encouraged as an help that can help with monitoring depression in patients.

Following any patient screening that suggests depression, the researchers emphasized the significance of assessing depression severity. “The story of a patient’s cancer prognosis, physical symptoms, concurrent life stressors, personal relationships, and support structures becomes the basis for assessing depression,” the researchers explained.

Some depression symptoms, such as appetite, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating, may perhaps stem from cancer remedy. In turn, these symptoms may perhaps be enhanced by depression. Treating these symptoms, they indicated, may perhaps enable with mood and a sense of well-being.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness-primarily based tension reduction, yoga, and tactics incorporating education are prospective nonpharmacologic remedy approaches for patients with mild depression. In instances involving more regarding depression symptoms or history, prompt psychological referral and intervention are advised.

“Although some of the interventions described in the current article may not be practical because of time limitations or the need for specialized training, many can occur while nurses are performing other tasks, such as talking with patients about their feelings and emotions during chemotherapy administration,” the researchers wrote. They encouraged that oncology nurses familiarize themselves with tools and approaches involved in decreasing the effect of depression in patients with cancer.


Decker VB, Tofthagen C. Depression: screening, assessment, and interventions in oncology nursing. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 202125(4):413-421. doi:10.1188/21.CJON.413-421

This post initially appeared on Oncology Nurse Advisor

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