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A Journal on Dentistry and Maxillofacial Surgery
Minerva Stomatologica 2001 September-October;50(9-10):299-308
Incidence of psychological symptoms in patients treated for oral cancer
Brignolo A., Garzino-Demo P., Poglio G., Gallesio C., Seminario M., Angelini G., Berrone S.
Background. The first aim of the study is to evaluate the possible onset of anxiety, major or minor forms of depression and delirium in patients treated for head and neck malignancies. The second aim is to study the possible association between the psychological conditions and the different parameters connected with the treatment (site of tumor, time of hospitalisation and surgery, kind of reconstruction).
Methods. The study included 35 patients (21 males; 14 females) with diagnosis of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). All the patients were examined before surgery, during the preoperative phase, and after surgery. Three evaluation questionnaires were used during the interview: Spielberg's StaiY1 and Y2 test, to evaluate anxiety, and Zung Self-Rating Depression scale, to evaluate depression.
Results. Patients revealed anxiety before surgery, while after intervention the level was normal. There was a prevalence of anxiety over depression. There was no correlation between diagnosis, site of tumor, time of hospitalisation and psychological symptoms. An association between time of surgery, kind of reconstruction, anxiety and depression was found. The patients with a higher degree of anxiety were more tending to delirium.
Conclusions. Malignancy of the head and neck causes considerable physical and psychological problems which may adversely affect the quality of life during and after treatment. The better reconstruction is correlated with the lower psychopathological problems. The study underlines the need to offer psychological support during diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.