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Mental Health Disorders Up After Head & Neck Cancer Diagnosis

THURSDAY, Feb. 28, 2019 -- In patients with head and neck cancer (HNC), the prevalence of mental health disorders (MHDs) is significantly higher after cancer diagnosis, according to a study published online Feb. 28 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Ji Hyae Lee, from Pennsylvania State University in Hershey, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study to describe the prevalence of MHDs in patients with HNC and the potential associations with survival and recurrence. Data were included for 52,641 patients with a diagnosis of HNC.

The researchers found that men, patients aged 55 to 64 years, and those from the South most commonly had HNC (58.5, 46.6, and 40.3 percent). Oral cavity cancers were the most common type of cancer (40.4 percent), followed by cancers of the oropharynx and larynx (19.2 and 15.5 percent, respectively). Patients with cancers of the trachea versus the oral cavity had a significantly increased odds ratio for MHD prevalence (2.11). In patients with HNC, the prevalence of MHDs increased to 29.9 percent compared with 20.6 percent before the cancer diagnosis. After the diagnosis of HNC, women and patients with a history of tobacco use and alcohol use had significantly higher odds of MHDs (adjusted odds ratios, 1.58, 1.42, and 1.56, respectively).

"Individualized care may help recognize and address the sociodemographic variables affecting mental health of the patients with HNC," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the medical device industry.

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Posted: February 2019

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