Depression is commonly encountered among cancer patients and has been linked with grave consequences if not promptly treated. This study was set to determine the prevalence of depression in cancer patients.
The samples were recruited using systematic random sampling and made up of 200 cancer patients and 200 age and sex matched controls that consented and met the inclusion criteria. The instruments used included: Socio-demographic and clinical profile questionnaire, Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale Revised (CES-DR), and the Schedule for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry (SCAN). The instruments were administered by the researchers on the subjects and controls, and data obtained were analyzed using SPSS-15.
A larger proportion of cancer patients compared to controls had depressive symptomatology (CES-DR score of 16 and above) made up of 98 (49.0%) cancer patients compared to 40 (20.0%) controls, and the difference was statistically significant, p = < 0.001. Seventy-four (18.5%) subjects from the two groups had depressive disorder using SCAN. The prevalence of depression in cancer subjects was 27.5% with 9.5% in controls and the difference was statistically significant with p = < 0.001. A substantial proportion of cancer patients with depression, 36 (65.5%, n = 55), had moderate depression, 15 (27.3%, n = 55) were mildly depressed, and 7.2% ( n = 55) had severe depression.
A significant proportion of cancer patients had depression compared with the controls with acute medical conditions. Prompt identification and treatment of cancer, mental disorders like depression should be integrated into cancer care in this part of the world.