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ESMO E-Learning: Anxiety and Depression in Cancer Patients

E-learning video block

This content is for ESMO members only.



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Learning objectives

  • Identify anxiety and depression disorders in cancer patients.
  • Describe assessment plans for anxiety and depression in cancer patients.
  • Describe management plans for anxiety and depression in cancer patients.


Anxiety and depression are highly prevalent disorders in cancer patients but are frequently underdiagnosed in this setting. In addition many physicians are not comfortable or aware of all aspects important for dealing with depression and anxiety in a routine clinical work.These disorders have also been associated with functional limitations and both anxiety and depression can independently contribute to functional and overall health. Effective management of these problems remains a challenge.

A characteristic emotional response to cancer includes initial shock and disbelief, and a period of turmoil with mixed symptoms of anxiety and depression. Multiple losses, beginning with the loss of one's health upon cancer diagnosis (followed by loss of body image, professional role, family roles, social roles, loss of abilities and capacities, etc.) result in grief reactions and sadness that often accompany the cancer patient throughout the disease process.

This E-Learning module offers a comprehensive approach to diagnosis, assessment and management of anxiety and depression in cancer patients. The main goal in offering such an educational module is to try to change the current situation when anxiety and depression are generally underdiagnosed and undertreated in the cancer population despite the great degree of suffering they impose on cancer patients.

Declaration of interest

The author has reported no conflict of interest.

Last update: 13 Feb 2012

This E-Learning module was published in 2012. The CME test expired in 2014.

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