Psychosocial distress is prevalent in head and neck cancer patients

Laryngoscope. 2013 Jun;123(6):1424-9. doi: 10.1002/lary.23886. Epub 2013 Apr 1.


Objectives/hypothesis: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the levels of psychological distress in head and neck cancer patients using a validated screening tool. We aim to characterize distress in this cancer population and understand the factors driving distress levels.

Study design: Review of prospectively gathered data.

Methods: A review of prospectively gathered data was undertaken from 89 head and neck cancer patients (HNC) who completed the Distress Thermometer and Problem List (DT) from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).

Results: Distress levels were high in the overall population. The level of distress was significantly greater in patients with a self-reported history of depression (P <.001), family concerns (P = .030), emotional concerns (P = .001) and physical concerns (P = .014).

Conclusions: Psychosocial distress was found to be high in the HNC population. Factors associated with increased distress level included a self-reported history of depression, family concerns, emotional concerns, and physical concerns.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / complications
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Utah / epidemiology