Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine how accurate mental distress screening instruments are in identifying psychological sequelae in ambulatory laryngeal cancer patients who have undergone surgery.
Methods: Two-hundred and fifty subjects were tested for mental disorders according to the guidelines defined in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Psychological Illnesses, Version 4. Screening instruments tested were: the 'Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale' (HADS), the subscale 'Emotional Functioning' of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Core Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30), the 'Hornheider Fragebogen' (HFB), and a single-item visual analogues scale (VAS). Accuracy was assessed by calculating the sensitivity rates, specificity rates, and areas under the curve from the receiver operating characteristic curves.
Results: The relative frequency of mental disorders was 19.8%. All of the screening instruments tested were found to be highly accurate. The best levels of sensitivity and specificity were associated with the total score of the HADS.
Conclusions: These results confirm that a significant minority of laryngeal cancer patients suffer from severe mental distress, and that accurate screening for clinically significant mental disorders is possible using any of the instruments evaluated here.
(c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd