Depression and depressive symptoms are prevalent in people with cancer, yet interventions for depression are a low priority for most oncology care providers. Barriers to diagnosis and treatment include beliefs by patients and providers that depression is an expected correlate of cancer diagnosis, the reluctance of patients to share psychological concerns, and the reticence of some professionals to assess patients with cancer for depressive symptoms in the midst of busy oncology settings. Intervening to diminish depressive symptoms in people with cancer is important because depression has been associated with poorer quality of life, recovery, and possibly survival. This article reviews and summarizes the evidence for pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions for people with cancer and depression and identifes opportunities for future research and practice change.
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