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Psychotherapy for depression among cancer patients who are incurable

Akechi T, Okuyama T, Onishi J, Morita T, Furukawa TA
Published Online: 
17 June 2013

Depressive states represent frequent complications among cancer patients and are more common amongst advanced cancer patients. Psychotherapy comprises of various interventions for ameliorating or preventing psychological distress conducted by direct verbal or interactive communication, or both, and is delivered by health care professionals. It is a patient-preferred and promising strategy for treating depressive states among cancer patients. Several systematic reviews have investigated the effectiveness of psychotherapy for treating depressive states among cancer patients. However, the findings are conflicting, and no review has focused on depressive states among patients with incurable cancer. The review authors conducted a systematic review of randomised controlled trials to investigate the effects of psychotherapy on the treatment of depressive states among patients with advanced cancer. The review authors found that psychotherapy was useful for treating depressive states in advanced cancer patients. However, little evidence supports the effectiveness of psychotherapy for patients with clinically diagnosed depression including major depressive disorder. Future studies to investigate and clarify the usefulness of psychotherapy for treating clinically diagnosed depression in terminally ill patients are needed.

This record should be cited as: 
Akechi T, Okuyama T, Onishi J, Morita T, Furukawa TA. Psychotherapy for depression among incurable cancer patients. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 6. Art. No.: CD005537. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005537.pub2
Assessed as up to date: 
11 February 2008