Depression in Cancer Patients

Subject: Psychiatry
Pages: 1
Words: 350
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: Bachelor

A patient had an acute health issue that was treated in our unit, but her tests revealed her positive cancer status. The patient displayed evident depression symptoms, so, as a nurse, I had to help the patient to improve her mental state. Pitman et al. (2018) note that approximately 50% of women with breast cancer are diagnosed with depression during the first year after they learn about cancer. Depression is a serious health issue as it makes patients less compliant with recommendations and can even result in suicide attempts (Pitman et al., 2018). The researchers note that psychotherapy is a common and highly effective type of treatment that helps such patients cope with their problems.

Being aware of the benefits of psychotherapy, I provided the patient with information regarding available resources for people in our community. I informed her about therapists and support groups that are based in our facility and community. I have researched cognitive-behavioral therapy strategies, and I know about the positive effects of scheduling and activation. Hence, I encouraged the patient to develop a schedule with activities to do when in hospital and once discharged. I also tried to help the patient to reframe her thoughts by focusing on positive aspects and opportunities. I could have paid more attention to the spiritual component, but due to the lack of time, I failed to learn more about her beliefs and provide spirituality-based support.

As far as my advocacy is concerned, I addressed our nurse leader informing her about my perspective. I also communicated with the physician, asking him to pay attention to the matter. Finally, I addressed our administration (once again), asking her to consider the creation (or purchase) of a leaflet for people with depression. Depression is quite a common health concern of our patients, which can have legal and ethical implications. First, self-harm or suicide attempts (associated with depression) can lead to legal consequences for the hospital. Patients are often reluctant to admit that they are depressed and start treatment, so it is ethical to encourage the patient to be compliant rather than prescribe certain treatments.


Pitman, A., Suleman, S., Hyde, N., & Hodgkiss, A. (2018). Depression and anxiety in patients with cancer. BMJ, 361, 1-6. Web.