SMaRT (Symptom Management Research Trials) Oncology 1,2 and 3 are randomised controlled trials which evaluated the effectiveness of a new treatment programme (‘Depression Care for People with Cancer’) for patients with cancer and depression. They were funded by Cancer Research UK and completed in 2012.
10% of people with cancer suffer from major depression (depression that requires treatment). Depression can make it difficult to cope with cancer treatment and it has a very negative effect on patients’ quality of life, even after cancer treatment has finished.
Unfortunately, depression often goes untreated in people with cancer. There are many reasons for this: patients might not realise they have depression, cancer clinicians can be unsure how to diagnose and treat depression, and there is a lack of appropriate services.
“Depression Care for People with Cancer” (DCPC) is integrated with patients’ cancer care and provides both talking treatment and antidepressant medication given by a team of cancer nurses and specialist psychiatrists working with the patient’s GP.
The SMaRT Oncology Trials found that DCPC substantially improves patients’ depression and quality of life.