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Depression preceding the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer
  1. Mafalda Ferreira1,2,
  2. Hélder Moreira3,
  3. Helder Esperto1,2 and
  4. Armando Carvalho1,2
  1. 1Internal Medicine, Centro Hospitalar e Universitario de Coimbra EPE, Coimbra, Portugal
  2. 2Internal Medicine Department, University of Coimbra Faculty of Medicine, Coimbra, Portugal
  3. 3Pathology, Centro Hospitalar e Universitario de Coimbra EPE, Coimbra, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mafalda Ferreira; mafalda.alvesferreira{at}


Pancreatic cancer is the tumour related to higher rates of depression. Several papers have validated the association between pancreatic cancer and depression. It was noticed that in some cases the psychiatric symptoms precede the somatic ones. We present a case of a progressive and incapacitating diffuse abdominal pain, initially attributed to psychosomatic disorder. This hindered a timely correct diagnosis leading to a poor outcome. A pancreatic adenocarcinoma in an unresectable stage was confirmed by histopathology. The patient underwent chemotherapy.

  • Depressive disorder
  • Pancreatic cancer

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  • Contributors MF was responsible for the conception and design of the article and she was an integral part of the medical team responsible for the patient during her hospitalisation under the guidance of HE, who was responsible for the correction and critical review of the article. HM was responsible for the histological analysis of the biopsy material and the respective photographs, AC was responsible for final review and approval of the submitted manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.