Depression and anxiety symptoms following cancer diagnosis: a cross-sectional study

Graça Cardoso, Joao Graca, Catarina Klut, Bruno Trancas, Ana Papoila

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59 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The aims of the present study were to assess demographic and clinical characteristics of patients after receiving a cancer diagnosis, and to determine possible risk factors for anxiety and depression. Methods: All consecutive patients aged 18 or above, were assessed before starting intravenous chemotherapy for the first time with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), the Distress Thermometer, and a Visual Analog Scale for pain. Demographic and clinical data were also collected. Results: The patients assessed (n = 270) had a mean age of 59.4 (SD = 11.8) years, and 50.7% were women. Tumours were more frequently colorectal (27.2%), lung (18.8%) and breast (17.6%), and 68.9% were stages 3 or 4. A HADS Anxiety score ≥8 was present in 30% of the patients, a Depression score ≥8 in 24.1%, and a Distress score ≥4 in 44.4%. Independent risk factors for HADS Depression score ≥8 were being a woman (OR = 2.45; p = 0.004), being older (OR = 1.04; p = 0.005), and cancer stage 3–4 (OR = 2.24; p = 0.023) in the multivariable analysis; for Anxiety ≥8 they were being a woman (OR = 2.47; p = 0.002), having a past psychiatric consultation (OR = 2.83; p = 0.029), and cancer stage 3–4 (OR = 1.90; p = 0.047). Conclusion: These results suggest the need for greater awareness and a differentiated approach to patients at increased risk of anxiety and depression in the early stages of treatment and before starting chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-570
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology, Health & Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


  • Anxiety
  • cancer
  • depression
  • distress
  • risk factors


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