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Helping Women With Cancer Fight Depression

One in four cancer patients suffers from clinical depression, and almost half of all patients experience anxiety, according to the National Cancer Institute. Since symptoms of depression may overlap with side effects from cancer and cancer treatment — such as fatigue, appetite loss and sleep disturbance — patients are often undiagnosed and untreated.

“It’s normal to feel sad and afraid in response to a cancer diagnosis, but if these feelings persist or interfere with day-to-day life, intervention is very important,” says Ramona Osburn, director of Texas Health Springwood Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford and the Texas Health Springwood Centers in Allen, Arlington, Southlake and Southwest Fort Worth.

Currently, Texas Health Springwood Center Arlington offers Texas’ first hospital-based program to help female cancer patients cope with depression and anxiety — the Women’s Oncology Intensive Outpatient Program. A free mental and behavioral health assessment is available to determine if treatment is necessary.

“Treating depression in cancer patients can improve medical status, enhance quality of life and reduce pain and disability,” says Osburn.

Patients can be referred to the center by a physician, therapist, Employee Assistance Program counselor or through self-referral. The program includes:

• Educational groups on women’s issues

• Group therapy

• Patient and family education

• Treatment and discharge plans coordinated with referring clinicians and physicians

The program is offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon.

For more information about programs offered by Texas Health Springwood, visit TexasHealth.org/Springwood or call 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355).

(Fall/Winter 2009)

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