Prevalence of mental health conditions in cancer patients in acute care--a meta-analysis

Ann Oncol. 2010 May;21(5):925-30. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdp515. Epub 2009 Nov 3.


Background: To what extent is professional psychosocial care of cancer patients in acute hospitals necessary? In a previous meta-analysis, prevalence of psychological sequelae was found to be the same as in the general population. New studies with advanced methodology have been published since; therefore, an updated meta-analysis was needed.

Methods: We systematically reviewed studies assessing the prevalence of mental health conditions in acute care hospitals with comprehensive structured clinical interviews.

Results: Of 46 retrieved manuscripts, eight were deemed eligible for this meta-analysis. Within the studies, 1448 cancer patients had been assessed, whereby 456 were diagnosed having a mental health disorder. The prevalence rates ranged from 23% (breast cancer patients in Turkey) to 53% (elderly cancer patients in Uganda). The combined prevalence estimate is 32% (95% confidence interval 27% to 37%).

Conclusion: One-third of the cancer patients in acute care hospitals is suffering from mental health disorders and need appropriate treatment.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Health
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Prevalence