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Mental health
Cognitive behavioural therapy is not effective for depression in advanced cancer but could help in anxiety or other psychological symptoms
  1. Marie-Ève Caron,
  2. Dave Bergeron
  1. Department of Nursing, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Rimouski, Quebec, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Dave Bergeron, Department of Nursing, Universite du Quebec a Rimouski, Rimouski, QC G5L 3A1, Canada; Dave_Bergeron{at}

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Commentary on: Serfaty M, King M, Nazareth I, et al. Manualised cognitive-behavioural therapy in treating depression in advanced cancer: the CanTalk RCT. Health Technol Assess 2019;23:1–106.

Implications for practice and research

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is not effective for depression in advanced cancer but might be effective to address other psychological symptoms.

  • Psychological symptoms and needs in advanced cancer patients should be assessed promptly to tailor interventions.

  • Nurse-led interventions should be further evaluated to identify whether they are appropriate for more timely management of psychological needs.


Patients suffering from cancer must face the illness itself, but also a lot of adversity throughout it. Indeed, there are multiple effects and side effects of cancer and a notable side effect is depression. Depression can affect up to 40% of cancer patients.1 CBT is an empirically effective treatment for severe depression. Therefore, …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.