New guidance on treating mental health in cancer patients released after almost a decade

After a thorough review from experts of the American Society of Clinical Oncology's guidelines on treating depression and anxiety in cancer patients, physicians recommended several updates, according to an April 28 press release. It is the first revision to the guidelines since 2014.  

In general, mental health conditions like depression and anxiety are more prevalent in cancer patients than the general population and as such, require different considerations for treatment — especially nearly a decade from the last guidance revisions. 

"As clinicians, we must be mindful of the emotional toll that a cancer diagnosis and the associated treatment bears on our patients," Barry Berman, MD, one of the oncologists who reviewed and revised the guidelines, said in a statement. "Addressing their mental health is essential to delivering favorable outcomes, especially when it comes to cancer."

The updated recommendations advocate for clinicians to use treatment resources based on the severity of a patient's symptoms as related to depression and anxiety. 

Other notable new recommendations for practitioners include: 

  1. Begin treatment with prioritizing patient education about these conditions and options.
  2. Treat depression and anxiety as separate issues, rather than lumping them together.

  3. Take into account the severity of a patient's symptoms and from there implement a first-line therapy approach like cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral activation, mindfulness-based stress reduction, physical activity, psychosocial interventions and/or interpersonal therapy.

  4. Utilize pharmacotherapy if first-line treatments are ineffective.

  5. Continually reevaluate therapeutic approach.

Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars