Depression is common among lung cancer patients and can damage their quality of life and treatment outcomes, a new study indicates.

The findings suggest that doctors should screen lung cancer patients for depression and refer them for mental health care if necessary, said lead author Barbara Andersen, a professor of psychology at Ohio State University in Columbus.

The study included 186 patients recently diagnosed with advanced-stage non-small cell lung cancer, which accounts for 85% of all lung cancer cases.

About one-third had either severe depression (8%) or moderate depression (28%). Those with severe depression had high levels of hopelessness: 93% said they found it hard to work, take care of things at home and get along with other people, and one-third had considered suicide.