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Depression and Metastatic Breast Cancer

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Feeling sad is normal with any illness, especially metastatic breast cancer. But clinical depression is more than feeling sad for several days. It doesn't go away, and it can take over your life. More than 25% of people with advanced cancer are also diagnosed with depression. If you're depressed, you may have these symptoms:

  • ongoing, overwhelming sadness and hopelessness
  • no interest in activities or people you used to enjoy
  • difficulty sleeping or sleeping all the time
  • feeling worthless or guilty
  • thoughts of suicide

Chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and pain medicines — especially opiates — can contribute to depression.

If you think you're depressed, talk to your doctor. It's important to figure out what's causing the depression. If one of the medicines you're taking to treat breast cancer is contributing to the depression, you may be able to switch to another one. You also may want to talk to an accredited psychotherapist. Antidepressant medicines and certain complementary and holistic medicine techniques can help you feel better.

Learn more about depression.

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