Improving the mental health and quality of life of cancer patients

A study from Greece suggests that identifying and addressing demoralization early can help improve the mental health of cancer patients.

The aim of the study was to examine how anxiety and depression affect the life and health care of cancer patients.

measure anxiety and depression

The researchers in this study spoke to 150 cancer patients from two cancer centers. They used survey tools to measure anxiety, depression, and demoralization.

Demoralization is when someone feels they have lost hope and are discouraged about their situation. Someone suffering from demoralization might have a hard time finding meaning in their life.

People with mesothelioma often struggle with anxiety, depression, and demoralization. Mesothelioma is a cancer that forms in the lining of organs such as the lungs. It is caused by exposure to asbestos. Most patients with mesothelioma are elderly and male. Mesothelioma is difficult to treat and the five-year survival rate is poor.

A diagnosis of mesothelioma can be devastating to a family. Only about 2,500 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. This makes it a lonely disease for both caregivers and patients. In many cases, a family may not know anyone who has the disease.

Patients and their caregivers may experience hopelessness, blame, and psychological distress. They also face uncertainties related to financial issues and medical concerns. The painful symptoms of mesothelioma are also a major source of stress.

Improving the quality of life

After interviewing the cancer patients, the researchers found that anxiety was higher in women and younger patients. Unmarried patients were more likely to have depression.

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Demoralization also had a major impact on anxiety and depression in all patients. Researchers found that higher education was associated with higher levels of anxiety. On the other hand, having a good relationship with healthcare providers helped lower depression levels.

These results suggest that identifying and treating mental health issues early in cancer treatment can improve quality of life.

Other studies have shown that a strong support network can improve mental well-being. A strong social support network can increase the likelihood of experiencing resilience.


Arvaniti E, Nikoloudi M, Tsoukalas N, Parpa E, Mystakidou K. Factors associated with anxiety and depression in cancer patients: Demographic factors and the role of demoralization and satisfaction with care [published online ahead of print, 2023 Feb 16]. psycho-oncology. 2023;10.1002/pon.6115. doi:10.1002/pon.6115.