For some, PTSD endures long after successful treatment

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According to a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, for many long-term survivors of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, beating cancer was only half the battle.

Researchers from Duke University are reporting that at least a third of those survivors suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that either don't get better or actually get worse over time, as many as 15 years or more following diagnosis (average: 12.9 years after diagnosis).

They were able to identify certain risk factors associated with the potential for struggling with PTSD symptoms after treatment:

-- Low income
-- Stage II or higher at diagnosis
-- High grade or aggressive tumor
-- Treatment included chemotherapy

Researchers concluded that health care providers "should be aware of enduring risk; early identification of those at prolonged risk with standardized measures and treatments that target perceptions of the cancer experience might improve long-term outcomes."

Source

Smith SK et al. Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms in Long-Term Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Survivors: Does Time Heal? 10.1200/JCO.2011.37.2631.

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