Depression and anxiety in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy (#521)
Depression and anxiety are common in breast cancer patients. Most cancer patients receiving chemotherapy experience psychological distress as a result of negative effects of the chemotherapeutic agents. The aims of the study were to determine the prevalence of depression and anxiety in patients with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy and to investigate the associated factors related to depression and anxiety. Methods: Patients diagnosed with breast cancer and attended oncology out-patient clinic for chemotherapy, were invited to participate in the study. They were assessed on socio-demographic profiles and clinical history. Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS) was used by patients to report anxiety and depression. Results: Ninety-four breast cancer patients participated with mean age of 48.6+9.6 years. About 77% were married, 57% were Chinese, 25% Malays, 15% Indians and 3% others. Majority (87%) were newly diagnosed breast cancer. They were on 6 cycles of chemotherapy regime. Forty-two percent were on the 1st and 2nd cycle, 37% on the 3rd and 4th cycle and 21% were on the last two cycles of chemotherapy. The prevalence of depression and anxiety were 17.0% and 22.3% respectively. Depression was significantly associated with ethnic (p=0.019), difficulty eating (p=0.001), memory/concentration problems (p=0.029), skin dry/itchiness (p=0.035) and tingling sensations of hands/feet (p=0.019). Anxiety was significantly associated with age (r=-0.24, p=0.018), appearance (p=0.047), difficulty breathing (p=0.004), changes in urination (p=0.018), constipation (p=0.002), difficulty eating (p=0.038), indigestion (p=0.005), memory/concentration problems (p=0.052), dry/congested nose (p=0.025), and tingling sensation of hands/feet (p=0.007). Conclusion: Breast cancer patients underwent chemotherapy experienced high level of depression and anxiety. These were mainly related to their physical problems.