Answer C. 31%
Mehnert and colleagues reported a 31% prevalence rate for any psychiatric disorder in cancer patients In terms of psychiatric disorders among cancer patients, there is significant variability in the prevalence rates reported due to different assessment methods (clinical interview versus standardized measures), diagnostic criteria, type of cancer, and stage of disease among other variables. Recently, Adjustment disorders tend to be the most commonly diagnosed, with the rates ranging from 11% to 35%.5 Rates for depression vary from 11% to 37%, and anxiety disorders show rates from 2.6% to 19.4%.5 The rate for depression in the general population is 7%—and thus lower than among cancer patients—but the rates for overall anxiety disorders seem to be comparable. (see References 4, 5-7 here).
A cancer diagnosis results in high levels of emotional distress, with patients going through an adjustment period for about 4 to 6 weeks after diagnosis. Cancer for many patients is synonymous with death and debilitating treatments, with images of a prolonged painful dying process. Patients often say they feel overwhelmed trying to assimilate medical information and make treatment decisions—all while continuing to manage family, work, and other responsibilities.
For more on this topic, see Depression and Anxiety Disorders in Patients With Cancer, on which this quiz is based.