Depression and Anxiety - Risk Factors in the Evolution of Breast Cancer in Women

Ramona Adriana SCHENKER, Marius Eugen CIUREA, Puiu Olivian STOVICEK, Anamaria CIUBARA, Michael SCHENKER, Ileana MARINESCU


Psychological evaluation of women with suspected or diagnosed breast cancer can provide psychooncological elements for predicting the evolution of the disease and imperative customization of specific oncological therapies. In this study, we assessed the psychological status in terms of depression, anxiety and dysfunctional attitudes in both the group of patients with a confirmed diagnosis of breast cancer and that of patients with suspected breast cancer who are in the stage of histopathological evaluation of the diagnosis. The results of the psychometric evaluations allowed the development of a common neurobiological model for the two categories of patients. Given the staging model of breast cancer, the clinical and psychometric data obtained through our study allowed us to develop an integrative neurobiological model based on the evolutionary staging of anxiety and depressive disorders (Zhao et al., 2013). Based on these hypotheses, we argue that the staging of psychological disorders, the customization of specific psychotherapeutic prophylaxis strategies and the prudent pharmacological approach to these psychological changes can significantly improve the evolution and prognosis of cancer and the quality of life of patients. The state of relative psychoemotional balance (objectified by psychometric scales), without its validation by normalizing multisystemic biological indicators of depression (C-reactive protein, proinflammatory cytokines, blood-brain barrier disruption and cerebral blood flow decrease), suggests the risk of progression of the neoplastic process. We argue that when communicating the diagnosis and the therapeutic plan, a special methodology (specific protocol) must be applied to reduce distress, correct emotional balance and improve cognitive dysfunction by supporting the motivation to survive, as well as increasing patients' self-esteem.


breast cancer, depression, anxiety, dysfunctional attitudes, body dysmorphic disorder

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