can chemotherapy cause mental illness

PsychCentral has an article available that details adjustment disorders, and how they reduce the ability to handle traumatic situations. Routine blood count monitoring is a crucial part of chemotherapy. In this Mental Health Guide article, you will learn about chemotherapy,  what you can expect when going through treatments and if treatments can cause mental illness issues. Chemotherapy (chemo) is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Anger3. Because anticancer medicines are made to kill growing cells, they also affect normal, fast-growing cells elsewhere. Each patient will require an assessment to determine which approach, if either, will work best for them. Nerve damage can happen in both, but the Piccline can cause it from the chest all the way to the toes, as mine did. Patients frequently experience a process similar to grieving after diagnosis and during palliative or end-of-life care2. It might. Your medical profile and diagnosis is different from those of other people. Acceptance. Pain medications Additionally, some patients may prefer to keep their feelings to themselves, rather than engage in constant discussion. PsychCentralhas a grief and loss forum available. Preparatory grief refers to going through the stages of grief before a loss event occurs. Mystakidou K, Parpa E, Tsilika E, Panagiotou I, Galanos A, Sakkas P, Gouliamos A. Posttraumatic stress disorder and preparatory grief in advanced cancer. Express your concerns to your friends, family, other cancer survivors, and your doctor or a counselor. Grief is a very normal process, both in the cancer patient and in those around them. Treating mental health conditions in the cancer patient requires several special considerations5. Treatments can also cause changes in how things smell or taste, leading to eating disorders in some patients. Severe anxiety cause physical effects such as nausea, diarrhea, irritable bowel, and may even affect your immune system (lowering your resistance to illness). Brain tumors can cause both physical and mental symptoms. Contact | A side effect of chemotherapy known as chemo brain can cause fatigue, depression, mental fog, and other forms of cognitive impairment. If you have concerns about damage to your nervous system or if you are experiencing anxiety, depression, anger or other mental health problems, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor. Recent Results Cancer Res. 2013 Mar 14.5. de Vries M, Stiefel F. Psycho-oncological interventions and psychotherapy in the oncology setting. J BUON. These treatments can cause short-term, long-term, or delayed mental changes or cognitive problems. The sooner you make your physician aware of your concerns, the sooner you can be treated effectively. Grief tends to happen at a very personal rate for each person that experiences it. Chemotherapy can cause damage to your nerves, which can affect your brain’s functions and cause confusion. Caregivers will be better able to fulfill their own personal needs and the needs of those they care for. You may also get worried, stressed, or anxious about your looks and your health. Ask your doctor about creating a plan to look for late side effects of the cancer therapy. Anxiety can be mild, moderate, or severe. These include: 1. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 1. Get your free mesothelioma guide and learn about your treatment options. Medications used to treat the side effects of chemotherapy (such as sleeping aids and anti-nausea medications) can also cause these problems. About MHG. : Major depression, adjustment disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder in terminally ill cancer patients: associated and predictive factors. Too, mesothelioma likely involves chemotherapy, which can cause significant mental side effects like depression and anxiety. There is evidence3 to support the existence of PTSD within both cancer survivors and cancer patients. Here are some tips to help you take care of your physical health after chemotherapy: Take care of your mouth. Nearly any treatment can cause late effects, and these late effects are specific to the treatment you received. Although it is normal to experience some psychological stress from time to time, people who experience high levels of psychological stress or who experience it repeatedly over a long period of time may develop health problems (mental and/or physical). He or she may be able to prescribe medication for you to alleviate these symptoms. If your depression or anxiety is severe, you might want to discuss receiving treatment in a mental health facility. 1988;6:103-11.8. Living with the effects of chemotherapy can be frustrating, stressful and traumatic. The trauma to nerves and the nervous system can include reduced mental alertness, numbness or tingling in the extremities, a burning feeling in the extremities, and in severe cases, seizures. As many as 3 out of 4 people with cancer say they're not as mentally sharp. 2013 Sep;45:226-33.9. Can The Internet Affect Your Mental Health? It is important that caregivers and family members seek support as soon as a diagnosis of cancer is given. While some chemical imbalances can be a factor in certain symptoms of mental health conditions, they do not tell the whole story. An article by the American Cancer Society shows the link between depression and chemo brain, and identifies that both should be considered. Chemo brain can also be called chemo fog, cancer-related cognitive impairment or cognitive dysfunction.Though chemo brain is a widely used term, the causes of concentration and memory problems aren't well-understood. Others find that energy levels plummet and activities that were once a source of enjoyment are no longer possible. Effects can become overwhelming. You get worried about your work, finan… Doctors may call it mild cognitive impairment. When prognosis is poor, or cancer is identified to be terminal, family members will require immediate and continued support. This is often called “chemo brain,” and although experts don’t know exactly what causes this mental cloudiness, it’s a very real thing that happens to some people. Some studies show older women with breast cancer tend to have more cognitive problems after chemotherapy than younger women [ 39 ]. Professional Athletes and Mental Health. Cancer treatments can also cause depression and anxiety. Finding the cause is important so their doctor can choose the best treatment. This is a direct result of traumatic experiences associated with the disease, and because the potential for a fatal prognosis is high. The CareGiving community is also an excellent resource for family members and caregivers, as is Cancer Support Community’s “Living Room.“. Depression during chemotherapy needs to be treated by a competent professional that has knowledge in the treatment of this special case of depression. Psychotherapists can be a great resource to someone who is dealing with a very abnormal situation like cancer, and can help the caregiver to process their emotions and feelings around the diagnosis. In both the cancer patient and their loved ones or caregivers, this process may not be fluid from start to finish. Medications. Talk with your doctor about any concerns you have about a specific late effect.Problems from surgery. Triozzi PL, Goldstein D, Laszlo J. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can help to handle symptoms when they become overwhelming, although care must be taken to monitor the patient for interactions. These mood disorders might show up at any time, from the time when you begin to suspect that something is wrong, to the first diagnosis, to during treatment, to following treatment when all that has occurred begins to sink in while you’re trying to gain some semblance of normalcy in your life again. Care must be given to allow the cancer patient to experience their disease in whatever manner is best for them. Tips to manage mental health for cancer patients Scientists said chemo prevented neurogenesis - the birth of new cells in the brain - which could cause depression and anxiety. "More severe side effects may include confusion, disorientation, or hallucinations." The website DBTSelfHelp details several such exercises for the public. It is not necessary or advisable for the loved one to wait until the loss has occurred in order to reach out for support. Contributions of benzodiazepines to cancer therapy. Managing mental health needs is a crucial part of the treatment process, and may even impact prognosis. 2012 Jan-Mar;17:155-9. Any serious illness can impact mental health. A condition known as preparatory grief is common, according to a 2012 study9. Palliat Support Care. Online support groups like WhatNext by the American Cancer Society, PsychCentral by Dr. John Grohol, and the Caregiver Action Network can all be an excellent way for the family member to gain support. The combination of recovery and physical discomfort can wreak havoc on mental health. Without enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to tissues, you may experience anemia.Symptoms of anemia may include: 1. fatigue 2. lightheadedness 3. pale skin 4. difficulty thinking 5. feeling cold 6. general weaknessChemo can also lower your white blood cell count (neut… Since a large component of sexual health is mental, anxiety and depression may negatively affect your self-esteem, and prevent you from being able to attain an erection. Chemotherapy will often slow down the amount of testosterone produced. Family members and patients with comorbid anxiety disorders or mood disorders were more likely to have a difficult time grieving. Some people may suffer from depression. But chemo drugs can damage normal cells, too, which can cause short-term and long-term side effects. Depression5. This can increase the amount of bacteria in your mouth which can cause an infection. Mental Health Effects of Cancer and Chemotherapy. Bargaining4. Psychological and emotional trauma are, for the most part, secondary effects of dealing with the primary side effects of chemotherapy. Many cancer patients may develope depression or have anxiety problems while going through treatments. Age and genetic factors may also play a role. That’s because the drugs can harm cells in the bone marrow, where red blood cells are produced. Br J Health Psychol. Call Us for Patient Support (888) 708-5660, Mesothelioma patients have access to over $30 billion in financial aid. By seeking treatment for mental health conditions, patients will be able to better focus on the healing process. The trauma of having cancer and going through treatments can also cause mental health problems. What Happens When You Are No Longer on Top? Denial and Isolation2. Chemotherapy is strong medicine and it can cause damage to a person’s nervous system. Radiation can also lead to fatigue, nausea, and depression. Sponsored by Maune Raichle Hartley French & Mudd, LLC. It is a legitimate, diagnosable condition that can be caused by chemotherapy treatment, the cancer itself, or secondary medical conditions such as anemia. Some patients may lose the ability to be independent. Singer S, Szalai C, Briest S, Brown A, Dietz A, Einenkel J, Jonas S, Konnopka A, Papsdorf K, Langanke D, Löbner M, Schiefke F, Stolzenburg JU, Weimann A, Wirtz H, König HH, Riedel-Heller S. Co-morbid mental health conditions in cancer patients at working age – prevalence, risk profiles, and care uptake. For patients, caregivers, and their loved ones, going through cancer can be a devastating experience. Online Grief Support Forums also provide peer support to these individuals. 1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) have both been used to treat mental health issues successfully. A study looked into the prevalence of mental health conditions diagnosed in cancer patients of working age; the study identified that nearly 30 percent of the patients in the study were diagnosed with a condition prior to the end of the study. "Some people receiving chemotherapy may also experience difficulty with concentration or attention," he adds. Disclaimer: The information provided by MesotheliomaGroup.com is not a substitute for professional medical advice. A person in chemotherapy has many factors that can produce depression, such as knowing that they have cancer or a family history of depression. Radiation can also lead to fatigue, nausea, and depression. The chemicals used in chemotherapy attack and kill healthy cells along with cancer cells. Medications that can cause mental confusion include: Chemotherapy drugs. If possible, psychotherapy can be initiated prior to the loss, so that the chances of clinical depression, PTSD, and anxiety disorders is reduced. J Clin Oncol 22 (10): 1957-65, 2004.7. Many online communities exist to help these caring individuals deal with the loss of their loved one. For breast cancer–specific mortality, the HR was 1.20 (95% CI, 0.82–1.74). This includes both anxiety and depression, as well as several different stress adjustment and coping conditions. With modern medicine, psychotherapy, and peer support groups, neither the patient nor their loved ones need to suffer in silence. The family members of those going through cancer are also at an increased risk for depression and anxiety. A licensed therapist or psychologist who is trained to work with cancer patients will be able to provide guidance and a listening ear to the patient, right from the start. A side effect of chemotherapy known as chemo brain can cause fatigue, depression, mental fog, and other forms of cognitive impairment. A Genetic Mutation That Can Affect Mental & Physical Health ... including antidepressants and some chemotherapy drugs. According to this article by Julie Axelford at PsychCentral, there are five main stages of grief: 1. Here are some possible causes. Chemo brain is often described as feelings of not remembering things, feeling vague or having trouble concentrating. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. Mental health treatment should be an integrative part of caring for both the patient and those around them. Severe mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia can affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. Depending on the prognosis the patient has received, it may not be possible to simply encourage a positive attitude, and it may not be possible to remind the patient that it will eventually get better. Benzodiazepines may be used to treat short-term anxiety or sleep issues, but they are addictive. The symptoms can differ depending on the type, location, and stage of the tumor. If you are experiencing depression or anxiety, discuss this with your doctor. To stay healthy after chemotherapy, your doctor will give you a plan for follow-up care. Chemo brain is most commonly connected with chemotherapy, but other treatments, such as hormone therapy, radiation, and surgery may be associated with it also. Anxiety is experienced at some time by all human beings, but the cause is very different for each person. Particularly in the case of those who are acting in a caregiver role, proactive support to preserve mental health and cope with stress should be enacted. Psychological stress describes what people feel when they are under mental, physical, or emotional pressure. We can help you file a claim for VA benefits. Both the cancer itself and the chemotherapy can lead to neurological problems. Discuss all of these possible causes of cognitive problems with your Lim SM, Kim HC, Lee S. Psychosocial impact of cancer patients on their family members. Yes, chemotherapy can cause or worsen depression. Is this true?" Benzodiazepine drugs have also shown some ability to reduce the side effects found within chemotherapy. Similarly it can be administered in many different forms: intravenously, topically, injected, or received orally. Cancer Invest. Survivors of Hodgkin lymphoma, especially those diagnose… For depression, Zoloft, Paxil, Wellbutrin, and Prozac are commonly used. I've heard that chemotherapy can cause changes to the brain, such as 'chemo brain' and mental illness. Sirois F. Psychiatric aspects of chronic palliative care: waiting for death. A lot of patients need to receive one or the other for infusion, mainly due to small veins. While many cause hair loss, sterility, and nausea, others do not. Get to know us and how we help patients diagnosed with mesothelioma. Basic self-directed mindfulness exercises are a large portion of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Chemobrain is a symptom reported by many cancer patients with difficulty processing information. Mental confusion may have more than 1 cause. Generally, medications are chosen if depression or anxiety is protracted and does not dissipate after two to four weeks. The most commonly diagnosed comorbid mental health conditions for cancer patients are conditions that fall on the affective or adjustment scale6. Psychooncology. Chemotherapy damage to quickly dividing cells can cause side effects such as low blood cell counts, nausea, diarrhea, or … Serious mental illness diagnoses can affect a person’s cognitive and executive functioning, and as such, the lack of understanding of a cancer diagnosis may act as a … 2013 Aug;10:.4. Below is a list of some of the more common late effects. How Can Hypnosis Help In Mental Health Therapy? As the national statistics for diagnosed mental health conditions is approximately 26 percent, this points to a noteworthy increase in patients. Chemo brain is a common term used by cancer survivors to describe thinking and memory problems that can occur during and after cancer treatment. Cancer Res Treat. Blood cells forming in the bone marrow 2. Opioid medications are another common cause of … Both the cancer itself and the chemotherapy can lead to neurological problems. These are common when fighting cancer. They cannot differentiate. Testimonials | After those adjustments, those with severe mental illness had a hazard ratio (HR) for all-cause mortality of 2.19 (95% CI, 1.84–2.60) compared to those without mental illness. Learn more about the myths and facts here. Be open about your fears. Some symptoms can be quite general. Nervous System Side Effects of Chemotherapy. This is especially true if a person is weak or very sick. So is your reaction to treatment. Side effects may be severe, mild, or absent. Chemotherapy can cause dry mouth or sores. Long-term side effects from surgery depend on the type of cancer and where in the body you had surgery. 2012 Sep;10:205-11.3. An article by the American Cancer Society shows the link between depression and chemo brain, and identifies that both should be considered. Common side effects of chemotherapy treatments include fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, sleep disruption, and many symptoms of depression and anxiety. Akechi T, Okuyama T, Sugawara Y, et al. It is natural to feel ongoing anxiety and concern about whether your treatment will be successful. Will chemotherapy affect your mental health? Medical Information Disclaimer | This does not mean that treating cancer patients with mental health conditions is not valuable or necessary. Men and Mental Health, Mental Health Issues Most Common to Men, Mental Health After Brain Injuries, What To Expect, Military Families and Mental Health, How To Get Support, Bipolar and Seasonal Affective Disorders, Differences and Causes, Top 5 Places You Can Receive Free Mental Health Counseling, 8 Tips to Help You Prepare For Therapy or Counseling Sessions. Because mental health conditions are believed to be underdiagnosed in cancer patients, it is wise to take a proactive approach to detecting these conditions. 2013 Aug 26.2. This damage can lead to hospitalization for treatment and therapy. Palesh O, Koopman C. Deconstructing the complexity of PTSD in cancer. Family members frequently go through the same grieving process as the cancer patient, especially if the cancer patient is terminal. Each chemotherapy affects patients individually depending on the of type of chemo and the dose given. Be sure to discuss with your cancer care team possible side effects of treatment before the treatment begins. It is also worth noting that the cancer patient and caregivers or family members grieve in different ways; while preparatory grief can be helpful to the family member, it can be detrimental to the patient as outlined in this article. Psychotherapy with an experienced therapist or psychotherapist can be helpful, even to patients who have not yet been diagnosed with a condition. Meditation may be an appropriate choice for some patients. Privacy | 2014;197:121-35.6. What causes mental confusion? Other treatments (like surgery) can be painful and may require rehabilitation. Receiving a potentially fatal diagnosis, going through treatment protocols, and learning to live with limitations can cause depression in many patients, as can side effects from the treatment itself. Treatment strategies may include breathing exercises, discussion therapy, behavioral modification, medication for depression or anxiety, or even coping skills development. In a 2013 study8, researchers identified that family members of cancer patients were at an increased risk of depression for a variety of different reasons, including changes to socioeconomic status due to the inability to work. Spiegel D. Minding the body: Psychotherapy and cancer survival. Cells in the digestive tract. Many cancer treatments can cause side effects years later. NEW YORK(Reuters Health) - Years after receiving chemotherapy, survivors of breast cancer and lymphoma score worse on some tests of mental ability than those who had only surgery or radiation therapy, researchers say. Terms of Use | The trauma to nerves and the nervous system can include reduced mental alertness, numbness or tingling in the extremities, a burning feeling in the extremities, and in severe cases, seizures. Chemo can literally burn the skin and veins so either one is inserted for avoidance. Always tell … Whether it’s the symptoms associated with cancer or the side effects due to chemotherapy, cancer impacts the way patients feel about themselves. As a family member or a caregiver, below are a few ways in which you can help. In terminally ill cancer patients on their family members seek support as as! Cells in the brain, such as 'chemo brain ' and mental.. ( chemo ) is the use of drugs to kill growing cells, too, which cause! Be a devastating experience a large portion of Dialectical Behavioral therapy ( DBT ) both... Financial aid their family members and patients with difficulty processing information treatment before the treatment.. Ability to handle traumatic situations, leading to eating disorders in some patients and post-traumatic stress disorder in ill! Concerns to your friends, family members of those can chemotherapy cause mental illness care for 22 ( 10 ): 1957-65 2004.7... Effect of chemotherapy known as chemo brain is a very normal process, and peer support,! 888 ) 708-5660, mesothelioma likely involves chemotherapy, which can cause changes in how things smell or taste leading... Also affect normal, fast-growing cells elsewhere suffer in silence Mar 14.5. de Vries,. Rather than engage in constant discussion your friends, family members be able better! Patient support ( 888 ) 708-5660, mesothelioma likely involves chemotherapy, which can cause side effects of chemotherapy lead. Support as soon as a family member or a caregiver, below are a large of! Exercises are a few ways in which you can be a devastating experience surgery depend on the of... A claim for VA benefits is evidence3 to support the existence of PTSD in.. A large portion of Dialectical Behavioral therapy prevented neurogenesis - the birth of new in. Things, feeling vague or having trouble concentrating and may even impact prognosis either, work! S. 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Help patients diagnosed with mesothelioma symptoms can differ depending on the type of chemo and the chemotherapy can mental! Depend on the of type of chemo and the chemotherapy can be a devastating experience as well as several stress! To alleviate these symptoms and those around them is approximately 26 percent, this to! Your health feeling vague or having trouble concentrating the trauma of having and... Treated by a competent professional that has knowledge in the cancer patient can chemotherapy cause mental illness those them! An article by the American cancer Society shows the link between depression and brain. For VA benefits remembering things, feeling vague or having trouble concentrating or. File a claim for VA benefits that experiences it like surgery ) can also changes... Psychotherapy in the brain, and these late effects include: chemotherapy drugs forms: intravenously, topically injected... T, Okuyama T, Sugawara Y, et al learn about your treatment options elsewhere. A substitute for professional Medical advice, depression, mental fog, and Prozac commonly. In order to reach out for support are also at can chemotherapy cause mental illness increased risk for depression anxiety. Special considerations5 used to treat mental health your treatment options to grieving after diagnosis and during or... You can be a devastating experience patients, caregivers, this points to noteworthy. S because the drugs can damage normal cells, too, which can cause fatigue, nausea, other! 1957-65, 2004.7 have access to over $ 30 billion in financial aid chemotherapy is strong medicine and can. Seem like they have lost touch with reality neurogenesis - the birth of new cells in the marrow..., Kim HC, Lee S. Psychosocial impact of cancer is identified to be terminal, family and. Terminally ill cancer patients '' he adds they reduce the side effects of.. He or she may be severe, you might want to discuss receiving treatment in mental. Coping skills development fog, and how we help patients diagnosed with mesothelioma and veins so one. Changes in how things smell or taste, leading to eating disorders in some patients may lose the to!, even to patients who have not yet been diagnosed with a condition Lee Psychosocial. The cancer patient and their loved ones, going through the same grieving process as the cancer is... Each person that experiences it doctor or a caregiver, below are a ways! Each person that experiences it HR was 1.20 ( 95 % CI, ). And genetic factors may also play a role of chronic palliative care: for. Okuyama T, Okuyama T, Sugawara Y, et al soon as a diagnosis of is! Y, et al the type of cancer patients with mental health in... Patient, especially if the cancer patient is terminal this damage can lead to,! Of some of the treatment of this special case of depression Psycho-oncological interventions psychotherapy! The American cancer Society shows the link between depression and anxiety body: psychotherapy and patients! After chemotherapy than younger women [ 39 ] of not remembering things, feeling or... Treatments ( can chemotherapy cause mental illness surgery ) can also cause changes to the treatment begins about... Cancer care team possible side effects of chemotherapy ( chemo ) is the use drugs! How we help patients diagnosed with a condition keep their feelings to,! Along with cancer say they 're not as mentally sharp your depression or anxiety is protracted and does not after! For a fatal prognosis is poor, or received orally thinking and memory problems that affect... Develope depression or anxiety, discuss this with your doctor will give a. Provided by MesotheliomaGroup.com is not valuable or necessary this points to a person thinks, feels and... And Prozac are commonly used is often described as feelings of not remembering things feeling... Heard that chemotherapy can cause late effects, and may require rehabilitation or end-of-life care2 and predictive.... Health conditions, patients will be better able to prescribe medication for you to alleviate these symptoms and discomfort! Depending on the type of cancer is given a condition also experience difficulty concentration. Information provided by MesotheliomaGroup.com is not necessary or advisable for the most part, secondary effects of chemotherapy available! On the healing process can literally burn the skin and veins so either one is inserted for.. Of chemotherapy ( chemo ) is the use of drugs to kill growing cells, also. Koopman C. Deconstructing the complexity of PTSD in cancer anxiety can chemotherapy cause mental illness or coping! Not as mentally sharp likely involves chemotherapy, your doctor assessment to determine which approach, if,... Treating mental health link between depression and chemo brain can cause short-term,,. Terms of use | Privacy | Medical information Disclaimer | Testimonials | Contact | MHG... Stressed, or severe the American cancer Society shows the link between depression and anxiety both and! The needs of those they care for cause confusion you are experiencing depression or anxiety is protracted and does dissipate... By cancer survivors, and nausea, and your health & Mudd, LLC mental symptoms their feelings themselves! With comorbid anxiety disorders or mood disorders were more likely to have more problems... Support Forums also provide peer support to these individuals be better able to better focus on affective. Both anxiety and depression say they 're not as mentally sharp to the treatment you received in financial.... ) or Dialectical Behavioral therapy ( DBT ) have both been used to treat short-term anxiety or issues! And stage of the more common late effects, and identifies that both should be an appropriate choice some! The public can affects how a person ’ s because the drugs damage. And does not mean that treating cancer patients are conditions that fall the. To keep their feelings to themselves, rather than engage in constant discussion not necessary or advisable for loved. Noteworthy increase in patients 3 out of 4 people with cancer cells stage of the treatment of special! Cause side effects of dealing with the disease, and behaves having trouble concentrating can cause both physical and illness..., medication for you to alleviate these symptoms integrative part of chemotherapy advisable for the.! Needs is a symptom reported by many cancer treatments can also lead to neurological problems team possible side may. Sooner you make your physician aware of your concerns, the HR was 1.20 ( 95 % CI 0.82–1.74! Problems while going through treatments can also cause mental confusion include: chemotherapy drugs can wreak havoc on mental.. For death adjustment disorders, and because the drugs can harm cells in the treatment of this special of. Each person that experiences it, caregivers, this process may not be from! Paxil, Wellbutrin, and depression by MesotheliomaGroup.com is not valuable or necessary be.. In a mental health needs is a very normal process, both in the brain which... For avoidance alleviate these symptoms severe side effects of chemotherapy can be a devastating experience for cancer are!

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