SEOUL, Jul. 13 (Korea Bizwire) — A new medical study has warned that a lack of attention and support from an individual’s family and friends can increase the likelihood of depression for cancer patients.
The study, conducted by a research team led by professors Shin Dong-wok and Park Jong-hyun from Samsung Hospital and Chungbuk National University Hospital, found cancer patients are more susceptible to emotional damage than others, after surveying 1,818 cancer patients and some 2,000 non-patients.
Respondents surveyed were asked a number of questions including ‘do you have someone to talk to when you are feeling down’, or ‘I feel loved by people around me’ in order to measure the level of social support received by each individual.
Findings showed cancer patients on average receive more emotional support than non-patients, as people around them are more likely to lend a hand to help them get through their ordeal and overcome the deadly disease.
However, the study also revealed that a lack of support often has a bigger impact on those suffering from cancer as data shows those feeling vulnerable while sick are particularly prone to suffer from depression.
According to the study, the physical, emotional and social functioning of a cancer patient, three measures that are closely linked to quality of life, were more easily swayed by the level of support from others compared to non-patients.
“Through the process of treatment, cancer patients often suffer mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and a fear of recurrence. As talking with family members and friends can alleviate depression, constant support and attention are necessary,” Shin said.
The findings from the study were published in the latest edition of the Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology.