Stigma Linked to Higher Rates of Depression in Lung Cancer Patients

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A recent article reports researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL found that lung cancer patients may experience increased rates of depression because of the sense of “social rejection, internalized shame and social isolation” associated with the disease.

The study explains: “Given its strong association with tobacco use, lung cancer is commonly viewed as a preventable disease. Consequently, patients may blame themselves for developing lung cancer and feel stigmatized.” Even those who have never smoked often reported that they felt blamed for their disease by friends, family and even health care providers.

The Moffitt Cancer Center’s main motivation in researching this connection was to “identify psychosocial links for depression among lung cancer patients in order to develop interventions.” They found that 38 percent of those surveyed showed signs of depression. This research is critical because it provides evidence for the suggested link between illness-related stigma and depression.

Stigma can be extremely persuasive and prevent people from accessing the help they need to get well. Join us on April 28, 2012 for Strides Against Stigma to help erase the stigma that prevents people from seeking out treatment.

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