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Most Cancer Survivors Have Good Psychological Outcomes

FRIDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Certain factors predict anxiety, depression, and comorbid anxiety-depression at one year in adult cancer survivors, according to research published online June 17 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Allison W. Boyes, Ph.D., of the University of Newcastle in Callaghan, Australia, and colleagues recruited a sample of adult cancer survivors from two state-based cancer registries. A total of 1,154 participants completed self-report questionnaires at six and 12 months after diagnosis. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale was used to assess anxiety and depression.

The researchers found similar prevalence of anxiety (about 20 percent), depression (13 percent), and comorbid anxiety-depression (9 percent) at six and 12 months. The most prevalent trajectory from six to 12 months for psychological morbidity was non-case for anxiety (70 percent), depression (82 percent), and comorbid anxiety-depression (87 percent). The strongest predictor for psychological morbidity at 12 months was psychological morbidity at six months. Other strong predictors of psychological morbidity included diagnosis of lung cancer and health risk behaviors, such as smoking and insufficient physical activity.

"In conclusion, between six and 12 months post-diagnosis, the majority of cancer survivors demonstrated a trajectory of psychological adjustment indicative of resilience or recovery," the authors write. "Earlier psychological morbidity, lung cancer diagnosis, a history of smoking, and inadequate physical activity were the strongest predictors of subsequent psychological morbidity."

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