The Risk Factors for Depression in Lithuanian Women with Breast Cancer


National Cancer Institute, Vilnius, Lithuania


Background: There is a lack of studies about the factors influencing women’s risk for depression one year after the breast cancer diagnosis. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence and risk factors for depression in Lithuanian women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Materials and methods: Four hundred twenty one newly diagnosed breast cancer (T1-3N0-3M0) patients after cancer diagnosis were involved in the study. The Beck Depression Inventory Second Edition (BDI-II), Vrana&Lauterbach Traumatic Events Scale-Civilian version (TEQ), questionnaire on patients’ satisfaction about the statement of diagnosis and the necessity of psychological support together with the questionnaire on patients’ socio-demographic status were used. Clinical characteristics were taken from patients’ clinical records. Women were questioned before breast surgery and one year after.

Results: 37% of patients had symptoms of depression immediately after the cancer diagnosis and 36 % had them one year later. Breast cancer patients over the age of 55, immediately after cancer diagnosis, had twice the risk of suffering from depression when compared to younger patients. One year after the diagnosis the risk for depression was two times higher for patients who were married or living in partnership, and three times higher for patients living in urban areas. Employed patients with a regular income had a lower chance of depression. An earlier traumatic experience which continued to be stressful had a significant influence on the chance of depression. A traumatic event in the one-year period after cancer diagnosis increased the risk for depression four times. 39 % of breast cancer patients were not satisfied with how they were informed about their diagnosis – these  patients had a three times higher risk for depression immediately after the cancer diagnosis, and a two times higher risk for depression one year after.

Conclusions: Personnel that provide health care services to breast cancer patients have to be prepared to properly deliver information on cancer diagnosis.