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Research Article Open Access
Title: This paper describes a cross-sectional analysis of a population of cancer patients in Quito, Ecuador, using surveys to assess depression levels and correlate depression with social support and social undermining.
Background: Rates of depression among cancer patients are higher than in the general population. In Latin America, social support and social undermining are important, though understudied, factors in a patient’s mental health status. We assessed depression levels in a population of patients at a cancer hospital in Quito, Ecuador, and examined the association between depression, social support and social undermining. We hypothesized that depression was inversely related to social support levels and directly correlated with levels of social undermining.
Methods and Findings: A total of 298 patients was approached in the waiting rooms of the Sociedad de Lucha Contra el Cáncer (SOLCA) hospital in Quito, Ecuador over a two-month period. Surveys assessing depression, distress level, social support and social undermining were administered using an electronic tablet (iPad) based platform. High depression scores were associated with low levels of social support (p<0.0001) and high levels of social undermining (p<0.0001). Higher depression scores were associated with female gender, low education status and unemployment.
Conclusions: Results of this study indicate that social support and social undermining are important factors in a cancer patient’s depression status and that computer-tablet based screening is a cost-effective, rapid, and efficient method to identify patients with major depression who should be targeted for therapy.
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Author(s): Stephen T Lichtenstein Jorge Roa Ana Roldan Zongshan Lai Aimee Miller Jose Mosquera Michelle Grunauer Sofia Merajver and Melvin McInnis
Cancer Diagnosis, Cancer Research, cancer