Screening programs can go a long way in helping cancer patients who are experiencing depression get the help they need. That’s according to a study in the journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers developed programs for patients at different oncology clinics in southern California. They used surveys to screen patients for depression when diagnosed with cancer and at every follow-up visit. The researchers also educated the clinic staff and gave them feedback on their performance.
They then compared the data to data from clinics where staff were only educated on depression-and not given custom made programs for patient screening. They found more patients will get a referral for mental health services if the staff have those custom-made programs to help screen patients for depression.
Doctors say more research is needed to understand the exact benefit and cost-effectiveness of the program.