Global, regional, and national prevalence of depression among cancer patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Zahra Noorani Mejareh, Bahare Abdollahi, Zahra Hoseinipalangi, Melika Shamsian Jeze, Hossein Hosseinifard, Sima Rafiei, Farnaz Aghajani, Afsaneh Dehnad, Mohadeseh Fadavi Ardakani, Saba Ahmadi, Haniyeh Anbarhassani, Mahsa Tohidi Asl, Fatemeh Pashazadeh Kan, Aidin Aryankhesal, Hosein Shabaninejad, Sepideh Aghalou, Ahmad Ghashghaee

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This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to provide a summary of the existing evidence on the prevalence of depression among cancer patients worldwide to assist health policymakers in adopting appropriate measures to prevent and control depression in these patients. EMBASE, Google Scholar, Scopus, PubMed, and Web of Science databases were searched for original studies published in English from January 2000 to July 2019. The studies were screened on the basis of quality and relevance criteria. The statistical analyses were conducted in the R software. Out of 182,521 cancer patients examined in 183 studies, 49,280 (~27%) had depression (95% confidence interval [CI] = 24%-30%). The highest prevalence of depression was among patients with colorectal cancer with 32% (95% CI = 20%-47%). Among countries, Pakistan with 43% (95% CI = 26%-64%), and among continents, Africa with 36% (95% CI = 29%-43%) had the highest prevalence of reported depression in cancer patients. Adjusting for sample size, the prevalence of depression among female cancer patients, 31% (95% CI = 26%-36%), was higher than men, 26% (95% CI = 21%-31%). The prevalence of depression among cancer patients is increasing by an average of 0.6% per year. The findings show higher prevalence of depression among cancer patients in underdeveloped and developing countries compared to the developed nations and the global average.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-535
Number of pages9
JournalIndian Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • depression
  • global
  • meta-analysis
  • review

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