Health behaviors of head and neck cancer patients the first year after diagnosis

Head Neck. 2008 Jan;30(1):93-102. doi: 10.1002/hed.20665.


Background: This prospective, cohort study is the first to describe 5 health behaviors of head and neck cancer patients the first year after diagnosis.

Methods: Patients (N = 283) were recruited in otolaryngology clinic waiting rooms and asked to complete written surveys. A medical record audit was also conducted. Descriptive statistics and multivariate analyses were conducted to determine which variables were associated with the 5 health behaviors.

Results: Half of the patients smoked and 25% were problem drinkers. Over half of the smokers and drinkers quit 1 year post-diagnosis. Smoking and problem drinking were highly associated and both were associated with lower body mass index (BMI) (p < .01). Moreover, physical activity and sleep were associated with each other (p < .01). Low SLEEP (Medical Outcomes Study Sleep Scale) scores were common and highly associated with depression (p < .01).

Conclusion: The health behaviors of head and neck cancer patients are interrelated, and assessing and treating these behaviors together may be beneficial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Energy Intake
  • Enteral Nutrition
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sleep
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data