An often neglected burden of HNC survivorship is that on the psychological effects of head and neck cancer on both the patients and caregivers.  

Patient Mental Health:

According to the American Head & Neck Society "Patients with head and neck cancer and depression may experience: three times higher risk for suicide, poor quality of life, higher chance of not completing treatment, increased risk for death."

In HNC patients with 5+ year survival rate, 28.5% reported depressive symptoms. 


1-year pain and diet:  Strongest predictors of 5-year HRQOL outcomes

Funk, G.F. et al. (2012) "Long-term health-related quality of life in survivors of head and neck cancer." Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 138(2). 123-133.

Caregiver Mental Health:

"Caregivers (of pts with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma) experience poorer psychological health, including higher levels of anxious symptoms, compared to patients..."

"Longacre, M.L. et al. (2012) "Psychological functioning of caregivers for head and and neck cancer patients." Oral Oncology 48(1). 18-25.



How To Help:

"More self-efficacy was significantly associated with less psychological distress in both patients and partners....Self-regulation abilities as goal re-engagement and self-efficacy may be screened and used as target in future psychological interventions, given their potential to decrease perceived psychological distress." Offerman, M.P. et al. (2010) "Goal processes & self-efficacy related to psychological distress in head & neck cancer patients and their partners." Eur J Oncol Nurs. 14(3). 231-237.

Further Resources: