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    Reich, Michel 2015. Les troubles psychiatriques en soins palliatifs et en fin de vie. La Presse Médicale, Vol. 44, Issue. 4, p. 442.

    Janberidze, Elene Hjermstad, Marianne Jensen Haugen, Dagny Faksvåg Sigurdardottir, Katrin Ruth Løhre, Erik Torbjørn Lie, Hanne Cathrine Loge, Jon Håvard Kaasa, Stein and Knudsen, Anne Kari 2014. How Are Patient Populations Characterized in Studies Investigating Depression in Advanced Cancer? Results From a Systematic Literature Review. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, Vol. 48, Issue. 4, p. 678.

    Porche, Kay Reymond, Liz Callaghan, John O' and Charles, Margaret 2014. Depression in palliative care patients: a survey of assessment and treatment practices of Australian and New Zealand palliative care specialists. Australian Health Review, Vol. 38, Issue. 1, p. 44.

    Woitha, Kathrin Van Beek, Karen Ahmed, Nisar Hasselaar, Jeroen Mollard, Jean-Marc Colombet, Isabelle Radbruch, Lukas Vissers, Kris and Engels, Yvonne 2012. Development of a set of process and structure indicators for palliative care: the Europall project. BMC Health Services Research, Vol. 12, Issue. 1,

    Vodermaier, A. Linden, W. and Siu, C. 2009. Screening for Emotional Distress in Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review of Assessment Instruments. JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 101, Issue. 21, p. 1464.

    Crawford, Gregory B. and Robinson, Julie A. 2008. The geriatric depression scale in palliative care. Palliative & Supportive Care, Vol. 6, Issue. 03,


Screening for depression in palliative cancer patients attending a pain and symptom control clinic

  • Rami A. Sela (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 September 2007

Objective: Depression in palliative care patients is often underrecognized. Screening can increase case recognition. The aims of this study were to assess the prevalence of depression in palliative cancer patients attending a pain and symptom control clinic and to investigate the validity and utility of a depression visual analogue scale in detecting depression in the advanced cancer outpatient population.

Method: One hundred and thirty-two oncology outpatients who came for consultation at a multidisciplinary pain and symptom control clinic were asked and agreed to complete the Brief Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (BZSDS; Dugan et al., 1998) and depression visual analogue scale (DVAS).

Results: The majority of participants (72%) indicated clinically significant depressive symptoms according to the BZSDS (21% in the “mild” depressive symptoms range, 32% in the “moderate” range, and 19% in the “severe” range). Participants indicated low endorsement rates of items related to overt manifestation of depression (e.g., sadness, tearfulness, irritability, and suicide ideation). The DVAS showed high correlation with the BZSDS (r = .82) and is a potentially useful screening instrument for detecting depressive disorder in palliative care cancer patients.

Significance of results: The results of the study underline the importance of routine screening to detect depressive disorder in palliative care patients to improve their quality of care. The depression visual analogue scale was found to be an effective simple screening tool, easy to administer and use.

Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Dr. Rami Sela, Ph.D., Department of Psychosocial and Spiritual Resources, Cross Cancer Institute, 11560 University Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 1Z2, Canada. E-mail:
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Palliative & Supportive Care
  • ISSN: 1478-9515
  • EISSN: 1478-9523
  • URL: /core/journals/palliative-and-supportive-care
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