The psychological impact of annual chest X-ray follow-up in head and neck cancer

Acta Otolaryngol. 2006 Dec;126(12):1315-20. doi: 10.1080/00016480600868414.


Conclusion: Annual post-treatment screening of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients for second primary lung cancer and metastatic recurrence appeared to form no major burden for head and neck cancer patients. A majority of patients regard the annual chest X-ray as a reassurance. Given these results a more intensive screening program seems psychologically justifiable for this group.

Objective: To assess the psychological impact of annual post-treatment screening for second primary lung cancer and metastases in HNSCC patients.

Patients and methods: In a cohort of 106 patients, 68 men and 38 women, with a mean age of 56, the impact of the yearly chest radiograph was evaluated by means of a nine-item questionnaire.

Results: In all, 90% of the patients were in favor of annual post-treatment screening, 2% would not like to receive this screening, and 8% had no preference. A majority (98%) considered the screening as an extra medical check and 76% felt reassured. Although 21% of the patients were very nervous about the outcome of the screening, only 3% wanted to avoid the yearly chest X-ray for this reason.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / psychology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / secondary*
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Radiography, Thoracic / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*