Depressed Women Less Likely to Get Adequate Breast Cancer Care?

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A study of 45,000 Danish women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer between1998 and 201 showed that women who had taken antidepressants were less likely to receive recommended cancer treatments than women who had never taken antidepressants.

Additionally, women who had taken antidepressants had an overall lower survival rate for breast cancer. 13 percent of the patients who had taken antidepressants died of breast cancer within 5 years of their diagnosis, compared to 11 percent of patients who had never taken antidepressants.

What is the link? One possibility is that women who have experienced depression may be at increased risk for receiving non-standard breast cancer treatment. While this is only one possible explanation, the study is important because it show how important it is for physicians pay attention to the psychological health (and history) of their patients. Women who have a history of depression may need additional support when making decisions regarding their own health and treatment options.

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