Few studies have prospectively investigated psychological morbidity in UK head and neck cancer patients. This study aimed to explore changes in psychological symptoms over time, and associations with patients' tumour and treatment characteristics, including toxicity.
Two hundred and twenty patients were recruited to complete the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Late Effects on Normal Tissue (Subjective, Objective, Management and Analytic) (‘LENT-SOMA’) questionnaires, both pre- and post-treatment.
Anxiety was highest pre-treatment (38 per cent) and depressive symptoms peaked at the end of treatment (44 per cent). Anxiety significantly decreased and depression significantly increased, comparing pre- versus post-treatment responses (p < 0.001). Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale scores were significantly correlated with toxicity, age and chemotherapy (p < 0.01 for all).
This is the first study to analyse the relationship between Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale scores and toxicity scores in head and neck cancer patients. It lends support for the use of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Late Effects on Normal Tissue (Subjective, Objective, Management and Analytic) questionnaire in routine clinical practice; furthermore, continued surveillance is required at multiple measurement points.