Identifying Depression and Anxiety in Older Adults with Cancer

By Sara Bondell - July 18, 2019

For cancer patients, anxiety and depression are associated with poor quality of life, lower survival rates and challenges with adhering to treatment. It’s important to recognize symptoms of anxiety and depression, especially in the older adult population who often go undiagnosed.

Moffitt Cancer Center physicians, in collaboration with doctors at City of Hope in Los Angeles, looked at a validated screening tool for psychological well-being, with the goal of identifying thresholds for self-reporting anxiety and depression for older adults with cancer.

The group analyzed more than 450 patients over age 65 with solid tumors starting chemotherapy.  “What we found was almost one quarter of patients reported high anxiety levels and about a fifth reported depression symptoms,” said medical oncologist and hematologist Dr. Reena Jayani.

The data was presented at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting and establishes the need to investigate more screening tools to help identify thresholds for anxiety and depression.

“The question now is, how can we utilize other measures to identify this? The goal is not only to identify, but also intervene and ultimately improve quality of life,” said Jayani.

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