His team conducted a random, national survey of more than a thousand Canadian peacekeeping veterans with service-related disabilities. The participants were below the age of 65 and had served with the Canadian Forces from 1990 to 1999.
The research, published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, found a third of veterans who were deployed more than once suffered probable clinical depression, and 30 per cent of those deployed one time were affected. The rates of probable PTSD were 11% for those deployed once and 15% for those deployed more than once. The authors also found soldiers were more likely to have PTSD and more severe symptoms if they were young, single, or had multiple deployments.
???This study has important clinical implications because understanding such risk factors can help predict potential psychiatric problems in veterans who have been deployed,??? says Richardson. ???The high rates of depression observed in deployed veterans can have a significant impact when they seek treatment for PTSD because depression must be aggressively treated to help patients respond more effectively to psychotherapy. Many veterans are also living and working in the community as civilians, therefore it is important that primary care physicians and psychiatrists become more knowledgeable about the emotional impact of military deployment and screen for possible PTSD."
When the survey participants were asked who has given them the most support in dealing with MBC, family member (43%) was mentioned most often, followed by caregiver (16%), friend (14%), and medical oncologist (13%). Nearly as many respondents said they get most of their information about MBC from the Internet (39%) as from their doctors (42%), and 86 percent said Web-based MBC education and support materials would be most helpful to them.
The survey uncovered gaps in the treatment of MBC. Twenty-two percent expressed unhappiness with the care they have received for their disease; 73% were not offered entry into a clinical trial at diagnosis; 36% disagreed with the statement that women with MBC have a variety of treatment options available to them; 41% indicated that options were not clear to them at the time of diagnosis; and 52% said their healthcare provider does not offer a variety of treatment options or keep them informed of relevant drug approvals and clinical trials.
The survey also uncovered a strong desire for more patient advocacy groups to focus on MBC, as voiced by 82% of respondents. Nearly half of those polled (47%) expressed a wish for more monetary support in the area of MBC research to extend survival.
???Although the breast cancer advocacy communities have made great strides in developing and disseminating information about metastatic breast cancer, it is clear that we need to do a better job in these areas,??? said Kirk. ???The survey results should serve as a wake-up call to healthcare professionals and advocacy groups to step up and improve their communication and support to patients, caregivers, and families dealing with this devastating disease.???