Head, neck cancer survivors with depression often don’t seek help

A study published this month in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery is shedding new light on the psychosocial impact of radiation therapy among survivors of head and neck cancer.

The 211 participants responded to a questionnaire that assessed their rates of depression one, three and five years after treatment. After one year, 17 percent of the study group reported being “somewhat depressed” or “extremely depressed.” By year three, the rate of depression had dropped to 15 percent; at year five, 13 percent of patients reported some level of depression.

Among those patients with depression, at one, three and five years, patients actively in or seeking psychotherapy and/or counseling was 3, 6 and 0 percent, respectively.  

The report, ‘Depression Among Long-term Survivors of Head and Neck Cancer Treated With Radiation Therapy,” appeared online first on August 15.

Learn more about Polaris’s comprehensive oncology distress management system or its recent grant to develop a system to support the cancer survivor’s transition to primary care, including the development of tailored survivorship plans.