Rwanda Journal of Medicine and Health Sciences

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Anxiety and depression among cancer patients: prevalence and associated factors at a Rwandan referral hospital

Marie Goretti Uwayezu, Darius Gishoma, Ruth Sego, Madeleine Mukeshimana, Anita Collins


Background: Cancer patients frequently experience psychological problems related to reactions of cancer diagnosis, cancer type, treatment effects, recurrence, fear of end-of-life, survivorship, and financial burden. Psychological assessment has been integrated into cancer care in some countries, but there is limited knowledge about the practice in Rwanda.

Objective: To assess the prevalence and associated factors of anxiety and depression among patients with cancer attending a private referral hospital in Rwanda.

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study design was used with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) instrument to assess cancer patients. A probability systematic random sampling technique was used to recruit 96 patients. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics to determine the association of variables with anxiety and depression.

Results: The majority of cancer patients had depression (67.7%) and anxiety (52.1%). Anxiety was associated with employment status (p=0.02), cancer stage (p=0.02), weight loss (p=0.00) and depression (p=0.00). Depression was associated with cancer stage (p=0.02), pain (p=0.03), weight loss (p= 0.03), cancer treatment (p=0.02) and anxiety (p=0.001).

Conclusion: Anxiety and depression were reported in over half of the study population indicating a need to create and integrate psycho-oncology into standard oncology care.

Keywords: Cancer, anxiety, depression, prevalence, associated factors

AJOL African Journals Online