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Review: insufficient evidence to recommend routine screening for psychological distress among people with cancer

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Question: Question 1: How effective are interventions to reduce psychological distress in people with cancer who meet a minimum threshold of distress, such as would be identified through screening programmes? Question 2: Is the routine screening effective at reducing distress in people with cancer?

Outcomes: Psychological distress outcomes as reported by eligible studies (priority given to primary outcomes). A variety of assessment tools were used by included studies including Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Center for Epidemiological Depression Scale (CES-D).


Design: Systematic review.

Data sources: CINAHL, Cochrane, EMBASE, ISI, MEDLINE, PsycINFO were searched up to April 2011, supplemented by reference list searches of the included studies and relevant systematic reviews, hand searching 45 selected journals, tracking citations of included studies in Google Scholar and searching trial registers.

Study selection and analysis: Question 1: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating the effectiveness of interventions to reduce psychological distress in people with cancer, compared with placebo, usual care or attention controls. Studies had to …

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  • Sources of funding Canadian Institutes for Health Research with individual authors receiving grant support from various sources.

  • Competing interests None.


  • Competing interests None.