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Mortality Up With Depression Just Before Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Newly-developed depression before diagnosis linked to higher risk of death in postmenopausal women

woman who had chemotherapy

THURSDAY, April 13, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Women with newly-developed depression before a breast cancer diagnosis have a modestly, but significantly, increased risk for death, according to a study published online April 7 in Cancer.

Xiaoyun Liang, M.D., Ph.D., from Beijing Normal University, and colleagues used data from the Women's Health Initiative to identify 3,095 women with incident breast cancer who had measures of depressive symptoms and antidepressant use before their diagnosis and at year three.

The researchers found that depression at year three before a breast cancer diagnosis was associated with higher all-cause mortality after adjustments for multiple covariates (hazard ratio, 1.35). For depression at baseline there was no statistically significant association with all-cause mortality or breast cancer-specific mortality, whether or not depression was also present at year three. Newly-developed depression at year three was significantly associated with both all-cause mortality (hazard ratio, 2.00) and breast cancer-specific mortality (hazard ratio, 2.42) among women with late-stage (regional- or distant-stage) breast cancer.

"Women with newly-developed depression before the diagnosis of breast cancer had a modestly but significantly increased risk for death from any cause and for death from breast cancer at a late stage," the authors write.

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