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Depression may contribute to poorer breast cancer treatment outcomes

Category: Breast

Following a positive breast cancer test, many women end up developing depression. The condition can put a significant amount of mental strain on a person, predisposing them to mood problems. However, a new study indicates that this may interfere with their cancer treatment.

A team of researchers from the University of Missouri found that single women and individuals with children at home were significantly more likely to develop depression after a positive breast cancer diagnosis. Furthermore, those who are depressed are less likely to adhere to the treatment prescribed to them by their physicians.

Low rates of medication adherence, regardless of the condition, are known to lead to poor treatment outcomes. In the case of breast cancer, failure to take prescribed drugs following surgery may lead to a recurrence of the disease.

"Depression can interfere with patients' willingness to adhere to medication regimens," said Ann Bettencourt, who led the study. "Deviating from the prescribed course of treatment may complicate patient outcomes and threaten prognosis."

She added that women commonly receive a significant amount of emotional support from their friends and family immediately following a cancer diagnosis, but maintaining this support throughout the treatment period may help women avoid depression.

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