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Minerva Stomatologica 1999 May;48(5):209-16


language: Italian

Evaluation of psychological anomalies in patients with oral cavity neoplasms

Bocca M., Pomatto E., Saini P., Nigro G.


Background and aims. This study aimed to evaluate the possible onset of forms of anxiety, major and minor depression and behaviour towards the disease shown by patients with oral cavity neoplasms.
Method. An explorative comparative study was performed in 28 patients referred to the department of Stomatological Surgery at the Odontostomatology Clinic of Turin University. Ten patients were examined before surgery and 18 after. The tests were performed using Hamilton's scale, STAI X1 and X2 and IBQ. These tests were carried out either during hospitalisation or during outpatient check-ups by an interviewer who was not familiar with the diagnosis or the patient's personal history.
Results. In the group of subjects evaluated before surgery, there was a scant presence of psychological correlations to disease. This shows that negation is widely used. Almost all subjects revealed the presence of anxiety symptoms and 60% of subjects were affected by minor depression. The level of negation was even higher in the postoperative group. This shows that the characteristics of the defensive structure did not change.
Conclusions. Patients showed a psychological structure, even some time after surgery, which was similar to that in the first group of subjects, namely those facing an active phase pathology.
The above findings underline the need for greater attention to be paid to the quality of life of these subjects who, owing to improved treatment, are becoming increasingly numerous. The scores obtained show that the majority of these patients encounter major difficulties at a psychological level, even if they manage to overcome the disease in physical terms. In conclusion, this study highlights the need to offer these subjects valid psychological support during diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. It also underlines the need for longitudinal studies in larger and more homogeneous groups of patients suffering from this disease since they appear to be somewhat neglected by modern literature.

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