Tool to detect depression in cancer patients developed

In collaboration with the Press Association

A tool to detect depression in cancer patients tested by the University of Liverpool could help doctors identify patients who require treatment for depression.

In patients with advanced cancer, it can be difficult to distinguish the understandable reaction to a diagnosis of a serious disease, from the symptoms of clinical depression.

With a quarter of advanced cancer suffers experiencing depression, the development of the new system, called the 'Brief Edinburgh Depression Scale (BEDS)' can help clinicians decide when additional treatment is necessary.

The test is adapted from a similar version used to detect post-natal depression. It is based around a six-step scale that assesses a cancer patient's mental condition.

Head of research for the project Professor Mari Lloyd-Williams said: "Depression has a huge impact on in patients with advanced cancer ? influencing the severity of pain and other symptoms, and greatly reducing quality of life."

Researchers hope that in the future this test will become a standard aspect of treatment for cancer suffers and may even be used to help suffers of other chronic diseases.