Skip to content

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Depression (PDQ®): Supportive care - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Assessment and Diagnosis

Table 1. Suggested Questions for the Assessment of Depressive Symptoms in Adults With Cancera

QuestionSymptom
a Adapted from Roth et al.[37]
Depressive symptoms
How well are you coping with your cancer? Well? Poorly?Well-being
How are your spirits since diagnosis? During treatment? Down? Blue?Mood
Do you cry sometimes? How often? Only alone?Mood
Are there things you still enjoy doing, or have you lost pleasure in things you used to do before you had cancer?Anhedonia
How does the future look to you? Bright? Black?Hopelessness
Do you feel you can influence your care, or is your care totally under others' control?Helplessness
Do you worry about being a burden to family/friends during cancer treatment?Guilt
Do you feel others might be better off without you?Worthlessness
Physical symptoms (evaluate in the context of cancer-related symptoms)
Do you have pain that isn't controlled?Pain
How much time do you spend in bed?Fatigue
Do you feel weak? Fatigue easily? Rested after sleep? Any relationship between how you feel and a change in treatment or how you otherwise feel physically?Fatigue
How is your sleeping? Trouble going to sleep? Awake early? Often?Insomnia
How is your appetite? Food tastes good? Weight loss or gain?Appetite
How is your interest in sex? Extent of sexual activity?Libido
Do you think or move more slowly than usual?Psychomotor slowing

Organic Mood Syndromes or Mood Syndromes Related to Medical Condition (MSRMC), as they are now referred to in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV), often mimic the mood syndromes in their presentation. The assumption is made (perhaps based on their time course or laboratory data) that an organic or medical factor has a role in the etiology of the syndrome. The DSM-IV suggests that prominent cognitive abnormalities may be accompanying factors and therefore are useful in making the diagnosis. The DSM-IV also highlights profound apathy as a sign of MSRMC. Consideration should be given to obtaining laboratory data to assist in detection of electrolyte or endocrine imbalances or the presence of nutritional deficiencies. Clinical experience suggests that pharmacotherapy is more advantageous than psychotherapy alone in the treatment of depression that is caused by medical factors, particularly if the dosages of the causative agent(s) (i.e., steroids, antibiotics, or other medications) cannot be decreased or discontinued.[38]

1|2|3|4|5|6|7
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
A common one in both men and women.
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
 
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Do you know the symptoms?
 
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
Blog
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
 
colorectal cancer treatment advances
Video
breast cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
prostate cancer overview
SLIDESHOW
lung cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
Actor Michael Douglas
Article