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Anxiety and depression among long-term survivors of cancer in Australia: results of a population-based survey

Jeremy W Couper, Anthony W Love, Annabel C Pollard and Sidney Bloch
Med J Aust 2009; 191 (5): 294-295.
Published online: 7 September 2009

To the Editor: We applaud the attempt by Boyes and colleagues to ascertain the level of psychological distress experienced by patients over the years following diagnosis with cancer, through a retrospective, cross-sectional survey of New South Wales cancer registrants.1 However, we believe several methodological limitations ought to reduce the confidence with which the authors drew their conclusions. The authors’ comment that “life after cancer is not all doom and gloom” was, perhaps, intended to be a little facetious. From a scientific point of view, however, such a statement is also very difficult to ever disprove — of course it isn’t all doom and gloom. Further, the authors’ assertion that psychosocial wellbeing several years after cancer diagnosis is comparable with that of the general population cannot be substantiated by studies conducted by this method.

  • Jeremy W Couper1,2
  • Anthony W Love3
  • Annabel C Pollard1
  • Sidney Bloch2

  • 1 Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 University of Ballarat, Ballarat, VIC.


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