Child depression in patients with cancer

  • Nancy D. Alvarado-Cano Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo
  • Fernando Del Valle-Del Valle
  • Gabriela Macías-Vargas
  • Georgina Romo-Hernández
  • Marco A. Escamilla Acosta


Depression is characterized by a set of symptoms such as sadness, irritability, loss of interest, fatigue, feelings of ineptitude and guilt, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, loss of appetite, weight loss, and difficulty concentrating, etc. When a patient is diagnosed with any form of cancer, it may suffer depression among other behavioral disorders. Therefore, this research was conducted in order to know the depressive symptoms that cancer patients present at the Children´s Hospital (Spanish: Hospital del Niño DIF) and strategies used by parents to notice these changes in their children. The Zung Depression Scale was used as the measuring instrument to determine children's depressive symptoms and a parent questionnaire to know the strategies used to observe these emotional changes. A total of 24 patients diagnosed with cancer were included. It was found that 6 children had mild depression and 18 children with a normal range of depression. The main coping strategies of parents were distraction, reinforcement, detachment, avoidance, social support and activities. We observed a relatively low prevalence of mild depression in these patients and the strategies used were very heterogeneous. 


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