Patients who are diagnosed with cancer can experience depression, which is associated with poor health behavior and overall prognosis. A cross-sectional study sought to examine sociodemographic and clinical factors that might predict depression in patients with metastatic tumor. The researchers presented the study at the ASCO Annual Meeting

The study included 796,072 hospital records from the 2008–2013 National Inpatient Sample, with depression defined using the International Classification Diseases, Ninth Edition Clinical Modification for major depressive disorder (MDD).

The overall prevalence of MDD was 9.1%. The researchers noted the following relationships between depression and patient demographics.

  • Younger patients (45 years or younger) more likely to be depressed (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 2.44; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.32–2.57). 
  • Women were also more likely to be depressed than men (OR = 1.72; 95% CI = 1.69–1.75). 
  • Patients with more frequent comorbidities were also more likely to be depressed (OR = 1.15; 95% CI = 1.14–1.15). 
  • African American patients were less likely than Caucasian patients to be depressed (OR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.49–0.52). 
  • Patients who were insured by Medicare (OR = 1.34; 95% CI = 1.31–1.37) or Medicaid (OR = 1.18; 95% CI = 1.15–1.22) were more likely to be depressed compared with those who were privately insured. 
  • Patients admitted to hospitals in the Northeast were less likely to be depressed than those in the Midwest (OR = 1.26; 95% CI = 1.23–1.29). 
  • Patients with prostate cancer had the highest rates of depression followed by lung cancer (OR = 1.16; 95% CI = 1.11–1.21) compared with patients with any other type of cancer.

The researchers concluded, “Healthcare providers should regularly screen patients with metastatic cancer for depression, particularly those in higher risk categories and can work collaboratively with patients on evidence-based psychological support and pharmacological treatments.”

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