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Longacre ML , Ridge JA , Burtness BA , Galloway TJ , Fang CY
Psychological functioning of caregivers for head and neck cancer patients
Oral Oncol. 2012 Jan;48(1) :18-25
PMID: 22154127    PMCID: PMC3357183   
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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.
Longacre, Margaret L Ridge, John A Burtness, Barbara A Galloway, Thomas J Fang, Carolyn Y P30 CA006927/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States P30CA006927/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural Review England Oral oncology Oral Oncol. 2012 Jan;48(1):18-25. Epub 2011 Dec 9.