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Support Care Cancer. 2013 Jul;21(7):2007-15. doi: 10.1007/s00520-013-1730-x. Epub 2013 Feb 22.

Evaluation of an educational video to improve the understanding of radiotherapy side effects in head and neck cancer patients.

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  • 1Oral Diagnosis Department, Semiology and Oral Pathology, Piracicaba Dental School, State University of Campinas, Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil.



Side effects of head and neck radiotherapy are common and can interfere with treatment. However, scientific information on a patient's understanding of these complications is scarce and confusing. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the effect of an educational video on improving the understanding of head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy about treatment complications.


A 6-min video about head and neck radiotherapy side effects was produced by a multidisciplinary oncology team. A controlled clinical study was performed with two groups: the control group (N = 19), which received verbal information, and the video group (N = 19), which received verbal information and watched the video. Two questionnaires were given to both groups, one before the beginning of radiotherapy and the other after finishing radiotherapy.


Thirty-eight patients were included in the study (mean age of 59.7 years in the video group and 57.9 in the control group). Thirty-one patients had an education level less than high school education. All patients of the video group answered correctly why they were undergoing radiotherapy. On the other hand, three patients of the control group did not know the reason for the treatment. More patients of the video group demonstrated better knowledge about radiotherapy side effects than patients of the control group. Only one patient of the video group had doubts about the treatment, compared to seven of the control group.


The present study showed that an educational video may improve patient understanding of head and neck radiotherapy and its side effects despite their education level.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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