In some communities, it is believed that knowing the diagnosis of cancer increases the symptoms of the anxiety and depression in patients and their relatives. In this study, we investigate whether the knowing of diagnosis of cancer increases the anxiety and depression.
Newly diagnosed, treatment naive cancer patients with various stages and cancer type were evaluated with standartized questionnaries. Patients were asked whether they know their diagnosis as cancer or not and all patients were evaluated with Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). According to total score results, 0-7/8-10/11-21 were accepted as normal/borderline/abnormal respectively.
Mean age of all included 129 patients were 56.97 ± 12.24 with male/female ratio of 64/65. Distribution of stage 1/2/3/4 patients were 8.3%/23.9%/29.4%/38.5% respectively. Thirty-eight of 129 patients (29.5%) did not know the diagnosis of cancer before the first visit. 94.6% of the patients who know the diagnosis of cancer were informed by a doctor and rest of the patients were informed by their relatives. Mean anxiety score of informed/non-informed patients was 8.6 ± 4.5 vs. 8.5 ± 4.6 (p = 0.697) and mean depression score of the informed/non-informed patients was 7.6 ± 4.7 vs. 7.97 ± 4.5 (p = 0.736). There was no statistically significant difference in the anxiety and depression scores of male and female patients(p > 0.05). Sub-group analysis regarding gender did not show any association between anxiety/depression scores and knowing the diagnosis of cancer(p > 0.05).
In Eastern societies, diagnosis of cancer is commonly preferred to be hidden from the patients, otherwise patients should have serious pshyciatric problems according to their relatives' thoughts. We found that, anxiety and depression scores of informed and non-informed patients did not show statistically significant difference. We think that decreased anxiety of informed patients may be caused by the acceptance of the cancer and preperation to the difficult treatment, and the increased anxiety and depression of non-informed patients may be caused by the expectation of bad news.
Clinical trial identification
Local ethical commitee accepted.
Legal entity responsible for the study
Gaziantep University/ Gaziantep/ Turkey
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.