Psychiatric symptoms in cancer patients

20-45 % of cancer patients suffer from depression, in 15-75% we encounter delirium. Other frequently reported conditions are those of acute stress disorder, anxiety disorder associated with the medical condition, post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder.

Withdrawal syndromes caused by alcohol and nicotine addition are conditions that can be seen in under any circumstances. We also encounter psychiatric disorders associated with the localisation and the hormonal functionality of the tumour, immune suppression, infections, para-neoplastic syndromes, and disorders associated with the chemotherapeutics and radiotherapy.

It is reported that some colleagues in the profession tend to regard the patient’s psychological complaints to be the a natural result of a serious illness like cancer. For this reason many psychiatric disorders can be overlooked.

Looking at it from the symptomatic aspect, the most common symptoms are fatigue, asthenia, anxiety, unhappiness, pain, sleepiness, night-time insomnia, loss of appetite, difficulties concentrating, sexual dysfunction and nightmares.