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Depression Research and Treatment
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 676784, 9 pages
Research Article

Depression Treatment Patterns among Elderly with Cancer

1School of Social Work, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
2Department of Biostatistics, MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas, Houston, TX 77030, USA
3Department of Pharmaceutical Systems and Policy, School of Pharmacy, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
4Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30310, USA

Received 2 March 2012; Revised 5 July 2012; Accepted 8 July 2012

Academic Editor: Harm W. J. van Marwijk

Copyright © 2012 Patricia A. Findley et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Little is known about cancer treatment patterns among the elderly as depression and cancer in this older population have not been well explored. This study seeks to fill a gap in the literature by using data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey from years 2000–2005 to examine depression treatment patterns among elderly diagnosed with both cancer and depression. Depression treatments examined include antidepressants with and without psychotherapy. We found that of those with both cancer and depression, 57.7% reported antidepressant use only, 19.7% received psychotherapy with or without antidepressants, and 22.6% had no depression treatment. We found those with greater comorbidity, of a minority race, with lower levels of education, and living in rural areas were less likely to receive treatment for depression. These findings highlight the need to address disparities in the treatment of depression in the elderly population with cancer.