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20-07-2017 | Head and neck cancers | Article

Psychosocial Issues in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer: an Updated Review with a Focus on Clinical Interventions

Current Psychiatry Reports

Authors: Joshua D. Smith, Andrew G. Shuman, Michelle B. Riba

Publisher: Springer US


There are frequent and diverse psychosocial issues that afflict patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) across the illness trajectory, prompting a focus on clinical interventions to prevent and mitigate psychosocial distress. We sought to characterize current understanding on the cause, effects, and interplay of various psychosocial factors in HNC and summarize updated, evidence-based interventions.
The psychosocial experience of patients with HNC is characterized by a disproportionately high incidence of depression, suicide, continued substance dependence/abuse, and distress related to relationship conflict, social isolation, disfigurement, and damage to self-image.
As we move towards a more thorough understanding and greater appreciation of the relationship between HNC and patient quality of life (QoL), future research focuses on implementation of effective, accessible clinical interventions to alleviate psychosocial distress in this population.

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