February 2011

UNC Clinical Trial Will Test Medications for Cancer Patients with Depression

Even though anti-depressant medicines have been studied in medically healthy patients, physicians do not know for sure which, if any, medications work for cancer patients with depression. 

A pilot clinical trial at UNC will test two standard antidepressants - citalopram and mirtazapine - to determine whether or not the drugs can alleviate symptoms in these patients.

“Studying depression in patients with cancer is particularly important,” explains Donald Rosenstein, MD, trial co-principal investigator, professor of psychiatry and director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Support Program. “Some studies have shown that as many as 40 percent of cancer patients have major depressive disorder.”

For more information about this trial, contact the research coordinator at cancer.depression@unc.edu or call 919-966-2044.

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First of a Kind Support Program Focuses on Single Fathers Due to Cancer

Men who have become single fathers as a result of cancer now have a new resource. UNC’s Comprehensive Cancer Support Program (CCSP) began offering a monthly educational series and support program in October of 2010. Group facilitators Justin Yopp, PhD, and Donald Rosenstein, MD, say that while information is available for single fathers due to divorce, very little attention has been focused on single fathers due to cancer. "The situation is quite different," says Dr. Yopp. "Single fathers due to cancer face unique bereavement and parenting challenges."

The meetings focus mainly on group discussion. "The fathers have so much to say," says Dr. Yopp. "The trend we are seeing is that the fathers are learning a lot from each other."

Any father with a child at home who has lost his wife to cancer is invited to attend the support group. There is no cost to attend, child care is provided, and the family does not have to be affiliated with UNC to take part.

For more information about this support group, email Dr. Yopp or call him at 919-445-5415.

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Refer a Patient

To refer a patient to any of the services within UNC's Comprehensive Cancer Support Program, call Robin Haring at 919-966-3494 or send an email.

For more information about other programs and services offered by the CCSP, view the program's website.