- Cancerkin’s first Hampstead Heath Walk
- Study finds that new programme is far more effective at treating depression in cancer patients than current care
Cancerkin’s first Hampstead Heath Walk
We have been very busy over the past couple of months processing all the sponsorship money and donations you have brought in, and we are delighted to announce that the Hampstead Heath Walk has made over £41,000! This is a fantastic amount – over £3,000 more than at this point last year – and money is still coming in. Everyone here is therefore very proud of all our walkers, supporters and volunteers who made the day such a memorable occasion and raised so much for Cancerkin in the process! A big thank you to all.
We would also like to thank our sponsors: Ocean Spray and the Finchley Road Sainsbury’s who kindly donated refreshments to keep you hydrated throughout the walk; and Floris who have generously donated prizes for the top three fundraisers. Without their support, we could not have made the day such a success.
Finally, a special thank you and congratulations must go to our top three fundraisers (drumroll please!). This year, our prize winners are Philippa Drew, Brenda Freedman and John Cunningham, who raised £3,598, £3,152 and £1,426 respectively. This really is an amazing achievement, and I am happy to say that they have each won a hamper of luxury Floris products.
Many thanks and congratulations again to all our walkers and supporters. We look forward to seeing everyone next year – and hope to announce the day soon, so keep an eye on On the pulse!
Study finds that new programme is far more effective at treating depression in cancer patients than current care
A study published in The Lancet has found that 75% of cancer patients who also have clinical depression do not get any psychological treatment.
The researchers, from Oxford and Edinburgh Universities, analysed data on 21,000 cancer patients. They found that clinical depression was much more prevalent in cancer patients: between 6% and 13% of the patients studied had clinical depression, compared with just 2% of the general population. They also found that 75% of cancer patients who reported symptoms of depression did not receive any treatment for the mental illness, which was partially attributed to patients not seeking help and professionals not diagnosing the condition. However, even when patients were diagnosed and given standard NHS treatment, the majority did not improve.
The researchers therefore carried out a trial of a new medical programme – Depression Care for People with Cancer (DCPC) – which was found to be more effective at tackling clinical depression in cancer patients than existing treatment. Currently, mental health care is separate from a patient’s physical care and involves prescription of antidepressants, with little follow-up or referral to mental health services. In contrast, DCPC was integrated with a patient’s cancer care and delivered by trained cancer nurses, who were supervised by psychiatrists. It involved both antidepressant drugs and psychological treatment and included careful monitoring. Five hundred patients with a good cancer prognosis took part in this trial, with 62% experiencing a 50% reduction in the severity of their depression. This compared to 17% of patients who received the usual care.
The study’s lead author Michael Sharpe, from Oxford University, said: “Major depression is really quite common in people with cancer and the perhaps surprising finding is that most of it goes untreated. The outcome with usual care is poor.
“We’ve described a new approach to managing depressed cancer patients that is based on the shortcomings of usual care, and integrated with cancer care, that really has quite spectacular effects in the good-prognosis patients and also has efficacy in the poor-prognosis patients.”
The cost of DCPC is approximately £600 per patient, and the researchers believe that if it was rolled out widely it could improve the quality of life for thousands of people.
Jacqui Graves, Clinical Programme Manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “It is heart-breaking to think cancer patients who are already dealing with the toughest fight of their lives are also struggling with depression, without adequate support.
“Anyone experiencing depression should get in touch with their GP.”