Objectives: To determine the incidence of depression in head and neck cancer (HNCA) patients and the effect of depression on baseline head- and neck-specific measures of quality of life and function.
Study design: Prospective cohort analysis.
Methods: A total of 255 patients were prospectively evaluated using the Beck Depression Inventory Fast-Screen (BDI-FS) survey, University of Washington Quality of Life (UW QOL), Voice Handicap Index (VHI), and MD Anderson Dysphagia Inventory (MDADI) questionnaires. Patients with a preexisting diagnosis of depression were excluded.
Results: Complete data were available for 77 patients with HNCA and 53 controls. Depressive symptoms were identified in 9% of controls and 19% of HNCA patients, and were significantly associated with a HNCA diagnosis (OR = 4.1, P = .044). Among patients with HNCA, depression was significantly more common in black patients (OR = 15.8, P = .017). A significant negative correlation was found between BDI-FS score and UW global QOL score (r = -0.4, P = .0019). Depression was significantly associated with poorer UW global QOL (β = -22.46, P = .0004), recreation (β = -13.77, P = .037), speech (β = -24.05, P = .004), and MDADI functional (β = -17.31, P = .009), physical (β = -14.99, P = .032), and emotional (β = -11.60, P = .049) domain scores but not with other UW QOL or VHI domains, after controlling for all other variables.
Conclusions: Patients with HNCA have a high incidence of depressive symptoms at diagnosis, which is significantly higher in black patients, and is associated with poorer QOL and MDADI scores. Pretreatment depression may serve as a marker for patients with increased risk of swallowing impairment and reduced QOL who would benefit from targeted intervention.
Copyright © 2011 The American Laryngological, Rhinological, and Otological Society, Inc.