Psychosocial effects of level of information and severity of disease on head-and-neck cancer patients

S. Kreitler, S. Chaitchik, Y. Rapoport, R. Algor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined the psychosocial effects of levels of information available to patients and compared them with those of disease severity. A questionnaire with multiple-choice and open-ended questions assessing quality of life in various domains (e.g., fears and worries, functioning in the family) and scales assessing anxiety, anger, and depression were administered to patients and their partners or closest relatives. The subjects were 55 head-and-neck cancer patients (40 men and 15 women) in disease stages I to IV, grades of tumors G1 to G3-4, with disease durations ranging from three months to 21 years. They were divided into three groups on the basis of the amounts of information they had about their disease and prognosis, and again on the basis of disease severity, based on stages and patients' evaluations. The numbers of psychosocial variables differentiating significantly between the groups deviated significantly from chance in both groupings. The results showed more effects for information than for disease seventy. The highly informed were better adjusted in interpersonal relations and had more intimacy with family, but had more fears, anxiety, changes in their lives, worries about health, and concern with physical symptoms. The reports of partners were fewer and lent some support to those of patients. Disease severity affected mostly fears, anxiety, and worries about health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-154
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Volume10
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1995

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