Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Case studies in mental health in general practice: depression and malignancy
  1. Sasha Fehily1,
  2. Grant Blashki2,
  3. Fiona Judd2,
  4. Leon Piterman3 and
  5. Hui Yang3
  1. 1Alfred Hospital, Victoria 3004, Australia
  2. 2University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
  3. 3Monash University, Victoria 3806, 3165, Australia
  1. Corresponding author: Sasha Fehily, Alfred Hospital, 55 Commercial Road, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia. E-mail:{at}


We reported a case of a 58-year-old single mother, who was diagnosed with a grade 3 invasive ductal carcinoma with a total Nottingham score of eight. The patient is struggling with overwhelming thoughts about death, but denies suicidal ideation. There are many emotional difficulties a person must face on receiving a diagnosis of cancer. To provide appropriate medical treatment, it is crucial to differentiate these normal feelings from a mood disorder (major depression). Depression is more commonly associated with certain cancers, particularly oropharyngeal, pancreatic, breast, and lung cancers. Depression in individuals with cancer is linked to prolonged hospital stays, worse clinical outcomes, and a reduction in the quality of life. Strong evidence surrounds the benefits of psychotherapy in treating depression in patients with cancer. Pharmacologic therapy is indicated for individuals with moderate or severe depression.

  • Depression
  • Malignancy
  • Mental health
  • General practice

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License (CC BY-NC 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.