Older adults who have had cancer had a high risk of experiencing symptoms of depression during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic according to a new study published in Cancer Management and Research.
The study was focused on a sample of 2486 adults aged 50 and older with a history of cancer who participated in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Among the 1765 individuals from the study who had a history of cancer but no lifetime history of depression, researchers found that 1 in 8 experienced depression for the first time during the early stages of the pandemic.
“Older adults with cancer also have to navigate the stress of being particularly vulnerable to severe COVID-19 related morbidity and mortality,” said co-author Andie MacNeil, researcher in the Institute for Life Course and Aging at the University of Toronto. “While strict adherence to lockdowns was an important step for many cancer patients to minimize their risk of COVID-19 infection, for many individuals this also meant forgoing social support, which is an important source of strength during cancer treatment and recovery.”
Amid the ongoing global pandemic, a recent study has shed light on its significant impact on the mental health of older adults battling cancer. Researchers have discovered that the convergence of cancer and the pandemic has created a perfect storm of challenges for this vulnerable population.
The study, published on News-Medical.net, highlights the emotional and psychological strain experienced by older adults with cancer during these trying times. Isolation disrupted treatment schedules, and fear of contracting the virus have all contributed to heightened levels of stress, anxiety, and depression among this group.
As the pandemic continues, addressing the mental health needs of older adults with cancer becomes increasingly vital. Providing support from healthcare professionals and within one’s social circle can help alleviate the emotional burden brought on by these dual challenges.
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