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Table 1. Suggested Questions for the Assessment of Depressive Symptoms in Adults With Cancera

Question Symptom 
aAdapted from Roth et al.[37]
Depressive symptoms
How well are you coping with your cancer? Well? Poorly?Well-being
How are your spirits since diagnosis? During treatment? Down? Blue?Mood
Do you cry sometimes? How often? Only alone?Mood
Are there things you still enjoy doing, or have you lost pleasure in things you used to do before you had cancer?Anhedonia
How does the future look to you? Bright? Black?Hopelessness
Do you feel you can influence your care, or is your care totally under others' control?Helplessness
Do you worry about being a burden to family/friends during cancer treatment?Guilt
Do you feel others might be better off without you?Worthlessness
Physical symptoms (evaluate in the context of cancer-related symptoms)
Do you have pain that isn't controlled?Pain
How much time do you spend in bed?Fatigue
Do you feel weak? Fatigue easily? Rested after sleep? Any relationship between how you feel and a change in treatment or how you otherwise feel physically?Fatigue
How is your sleeping? Trouble going to sleep? Awake early? Often?Insomnia
How is your appetite? Food tastes good? Weight loss or gain?Appetite
How is your interest in sex? Extent of sexual activity?Libido
Do you think or move more slowly than usual?Psychomotor slowing


  1. Roth AJ, Holland JC: Psychiatric complications in cancer patients. In: Brain MC, Carbone PP, eds.: Current Therapy in Hematology-Oncology. 5th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby-Year Book, Inc., 1995, pp 609-18.