Patients with Head-and-Neck Cancer: Dysphagia and Affective Symptoms

Head and Neck Cancer
06/07/2020

Krebbers I, et al. Folia Phoniatr Logop 2020.

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Affective symptoms are common in patients with head-and-neck cancer. This study determined the association between the presence of aspiration and symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as patient characteristics in patients with head-and-neck cancer and dysphagia.

METHODS: Eighty-four patients with head-and-neck cancer and dysphagia completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and underwent a standardized fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing. Linear regression analysis was performed to explore the associations.

RESULTS: Fifty-two (61.9%) patients presented clinically relevant symptoms of anxiety or depression. Forty-eight (57.1%) patients presented with aspiration during fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing. A significant negative association was found between the presence of aspiration and affective (anxiety and depression) symptoms (p = 0.04). Male patients presented significantly lower symptom scores of anxiety compared to females (p = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS: Clinically relevant affective symptoms were present in more than half of all patients with head-and-neck cancer and dysphagia. Surprisingly, a significant negative association was found between the presence of aspiration and these affective symptoms. Gender was also significantly associated with affective symptoms. These results suggest that there is a need for further investigation into the impact of psychological distress on patients with head-and-neck cancer and dysphagia.