Breast cancer and its treatment have been associated with psychological morbidity. In this study our aim was to quantify the excess anxiety and depression resulting from breast cancer. We compared 538 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients at low risk of recurrence (87.0% responded) to 872 women randomly selected from the Danish general population (69.7% responded) using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Contrary to expectations, the proportions classified as 'cases' of anxiety and depression were not significantly different in the two groups. The breast cancer patients' mean HADS scores were significantly lower than those in the general population sample (anxiety, P = 0.021; depression, P < 0.001), indicating less anxiety and depression. However, we question the validity of this comparison. The HADS may not be suitable for use in the general population and there may be methodological problems in comparisons of groups whose life situations are very different. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.
- Breast cancer
- Research design