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Oral Oncol. 2012 Jan;48(1):18-25. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2011.11.012. Epub 2011 Dec 9.

Psychological functioning of caregivers for head and neck cancer patients.

Author information

  • 1Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA. margaret.longacre@fccc.edu

Abstract

Patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) often require assistance from family caregivers during the treatment and post-treatment period. This review article sought to summarize current findings regarding the psychological health of HNSCC caregivers, including factors that may be associated with poorer psychological health. Online databases (PUBMED, MEDLINE and PSYCINFO) were searched for papers published in English through September 2010 reporting on the psychological health of caregivers of HNSCC patients. Eleven papers were identified. Caregivers experience poorer psychological health, including higher levels of anxious symptoms, compared to patients and to the general population. Fear of patient cancer recurrence is evident among caregivers and is associated with poorer psychological health outcomes. The 6-month interval following diagnosis is a significant time of stress for caregivers. Greater perceived social support may yield positive benefits for the psychological health of caregivers. To date, there have been relatively few reports on the psychological health of caregivers of HNSCC patients. Well designed, prospective, longitudinal studies are needed to enhance our understanding of how caregiver psychological health may vary over the cancer trajectory and to identify strategies for improving caregiver outcomes.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID:
22154127
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3357183
Free PMC Article

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