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Depression and anxiety are not uncommon among people diagnosed with cancer. Stress is often a trigger for depression and anxiety, and cancer is one of the most stressful events a person may experience. However, doctors and patients may overlook the symptoms of these conditions while focusing on the physical effects of cancer and cancer treatment.
It is important for people with cancer who have depression or anxiety to receive treatment because the symptoms of these conditions may interfere with cancer treatment. For example, patients with untreated depression or anxiety may be less likely to take their cancer medication and continue healthy habits because of fatigue or a lack of motivation. They may also withdraw from family or other social support systems, which means they won’t ask for the needed emotional and financial support to cope with cancer. This in turn may result in increasing stress and feelings of despair. The following sections provide information on how to recognize and cope with depression and anxiety, including treatment options.