ASCO: All patients with cancer should be periodically assessed for depression, anxiety

This month the American Society of Clinical Oncology has published their adaptation of clinical guidelines for psychosocial distress assessment and monitoring for cancer patients.

Their recommendations include:

  • All cancer patients and survivors should be evaluated for depression and anxiety at various points during their care using scientifically validated measures.
  • Health care practitioners should be aware of available resources and supportive care services within their institution and community to which they can link their patients
  • Follow-up! Assess whether patients have accessed the services offered, and whether they are satisfied with these services

The authors write: 

Screening and early, efficacious treatment for those manifesting significant symptoms of anxiety or depression hold the potential to reduce the human cost of cancer, not only for patients and survivors, but also for those who care for and about them. Strong patient/physician rapport will help to assess the patient’s experience of depression and anxiety and determine the most appropriate treatment strategy. In addition, there is a need for physicians to regularly reassess the patient’s status to determine whether the first course of treatment for anxiety or depression is effective, or if not, what timely treatment modifications can be implemented.

The paper was published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. You can find the full text here.