Physical comorbidities and depression in recent and long-term adult cancer survivors: NHANES 2007-2018
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Description: Thisstudy uses data from the NHANES survey, waves 2007-2018. The majority of cancer patients suffer one or more physical comorbidities (other somatic diseas-es present at the moment of cancer diagnosis). Previous research has shown that these comor-bidities can interfere with cancer treatment and shorten the patient’s survival time. We propose that comorbidities could also interfere with the mental health of cancer patients and increase the risk of suffering depression in the years following the cancer diagnosis. We tested this possibil-ity in a study of 2,073 adult cancer survivors. We found that the number of physical comorbidi-ties present at the moment of cancer diagnosis was related to higher risk of reporting depression in cancer survivors who were diagnosed up to 5 years before the study. This relationship was strongest among survivors of breast cancer. Information about comorbidities is usually readily available and could be useful in streamlining depression screening or targeting prevention ef-forts in cancer patients and survivors.