A study headed up by Dr. Michal Braun, a psycho-oncologist at the Hadassah Medical Center’s Sharett Institute of Oncology, reveals that the spouses of advanced cancer patients who serve as the primary caregivers are prone to depression. In the study, 38.9 percent of the caregivers to spouses with advanced cancer experienced significant symptoms of depression. In contrast, 23 percent of their ill spouses reported feeling depressed. Spouse caregivers at greatest risk were those who were very attached to their spouses and the most anxious about losing them. At the same time, the study revealed that marital discord contributed significantly to the spouse caregiver’s depression. Hadassah conducted the research in collaboration with Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital, and the findings have been published in the October 2007 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. “There is a need to assist caregivers in their new and demanding role,” Dr. Braun and his colleagues conclude. Relieving the distress of spouse caregivers, they note, also has important implications for the patients’ well being and could have a positive impact on their conditions.