Public Release: 

How common are mental health disorders after diagnosis of head and neck cancer?

JAMA Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery

Bottom Line: Treatment for head and neck cancer (HNC) might cure the disease but it also can result in adverse effects such as disfigurement and speech difficulties, which can affect quality of life for patients. Using information from a large insurance claims database, this study examined how common mental health disorders were in patients with HNC and how they were associated with diagnosis and treatment. The study included nearly 53,000 patients with HNC and researchers report the proportion of mental health disorders was 29.9 percent, an increase from 20.6 percent before the cancer diagnosis. Women and patients with a history of tobacco use and alcohol use were more likely to develop mental health disorders. The study may have underestimated how common mental health disorders were among the patients. Researchers suggest patients with HNC be monitored for mental health disorders.

Authors: Neerav Goyal, M.D., M.P.H., Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, and coauthors

(doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2018.4512)

Editor's Note: The article includes conflict of interest disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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