10% of cancer patients have major depressive disorder. Major depression is known to reduce adherence to cancer treatment, impair quality of life and limit peoples return to normal activities, even after successful cancer treatment.
‘Depression Care for People with Cancer’ (DCPC) addresses this, integrating traditional cancer care with psychological and pharmacological depression treatment. It is delivered by a team of cancer nurses and specialist psychiatrists working with the patient’s GP.
DCPC has been found to substantially improve patients’ depression and quality of life in three clinical trials. It is recommended in the independent NHS England ‘Cancer Taskforce Report’ and is listed as an example of integrated care in a Kings’ Fund report.
Despite DCPC’s clinical and cost effectiveness, we know that translating such treatments from clinical trial to routine practice is difficult and can often fail to realise its promise.
This project takes these findings from clinical trials and works to determine how best to implement them in the real-world setting of the NHS – the first step towards wider roll out across the NHS and maximising patient benefit.
This solution comprises a screening system, for identifying symptoms of depression in cancer patients, and the DCPC treatment approach itself. It is being implemented and evaluated in the Oxford Cancer Centre.
A steering committee including patients and carers was also set up to help guide the implementation.