Mental Health Assessment of Cancer Patients: Prevalence and Predictive Factors of Depression and Anxiety

Iran J Public Health. 2021 Oct;50(10):2017-2027. doi: 10.18502/ijph.v50i10.7502.


Background: Patients with oncological diseases often have mental disorders in the form of comorbidity. The aim of this study was to research the association of cancer with the presence of symptoms of depression and anxiety in primary health care patients.

Methods: This prospective observational study done in 2020 included adult users of health care at the Health Center Trstenik, Central Serbia, aged 19 and over, both sexes, with a diagnosis of oncological disease. A research instrument to assess depressive symptoms is used PHQ-9 (The Patient Health Questionnaire) questionnaire, derived from PRIME MD- and (The Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders), and the Beck Anxiety Scale (BAI) to register the presence of certain anxiety symptoms.

Results: The largest percentage of patients had symptoms of mild (27.2%) or moderate depression (22%), while 18% reported symptoms of major depression. The level of depression was higher in older subjects, in the presence of chronic diseases with greater limitations of activity and the presence of difficulties in performing daily activities, with a more pronounced effect of pain on activity, the presence of stress. All subjects were characterized as persons with severe anxiety (score 26-63). The level of anxiety was higher in older respondents, in the presence of long-term illness, with greater limitations of activities and difficulties in performing daily activities, with a more pronounced influence of pain on performing activities and the influence of the media.

Conclusion: Caring for the mental health of cancer patients must occupy a significant part of each country's national health policy.

Keywords: Anxiety; Cancer patients; Depression; Mental health.