Evidence for interventions to improve psychological outcomes in people with head and neck cancer: a systematic review of the literature
ABSTRACT In addition to cancer-related distress, people with head and neck cancer (HNC) endure facial disfigurement and difficulties with eating and communication. High rates of alcohol use and socio-economic disadvantage raise concerns that patients with HNC may be less likely than others to participate in and adhere to psychological interventions. This article aims to inform future practice and research by reviewing the evidence in support of psychological interventions for this patient group.
We searched CENTRAL, Medline, Embase, PsycINFO and CINAHL in December 2009. Relevant studies were rated for internal and external validity against the criteria of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) US Preventive Services Task Force. Wherever possible, outcomes were evaluated using effect sizes to confirm statistically significant results and enable comparison between studies. Meta-analysis was planned according to criteria in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews. Levels of evidence for each intervention type were evaluated using AHRQ criteria.
Nine studies met inclusion criteria. One study was rated 'good' for internal validity and four for external validity. Psycho-education and/or cognitive-behavioural therapy were evaluated by seven studies, and communication skills training and a support group by one study each. Significant heterogeneity precluded meta-analysis. Based on a study-by-study review, there was most support for psycho-education, with three out of five studies finding at least some effect.
Research to date suggests it is feasible to recruit people with HNC to psychological interventions and to evaluate their progress through repeated-outcome measures. Evidence for interventions is limited by the small number of studies, methodological problems, and poor comparability. Future interventions should target HNC patients who screen positive for clinical distress and be integrated into standard care.
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ABSTRACT: Patients undergoing treatment for head and neck cancer commonly experience signicant changes in quality of life (QoL) and levels of symptom distress. It is not known if a telehealth intervention would mitigate these changes. To evaluate the impact of a telehealth intervention on QoL and symptom burden in patients undergoing initial treatment for head and neck cancers. A randomized clinical trial comparing the impact on QoL and symptom distress of telehealth intervention and standard care was conducted with 80 patients (45 treatment, 35 control) who had been diagnosed with head or neck cancer and were receiving 1 or more treatment modalities. Treatment group participants responded daily to symptom management algorithms using a simple telehealth messaging device. QoL was evaluated by the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Head and Neck Scale (FACTHN) and symptom burden by the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (MSAS). Control group participants completed assessments while they received routine care. In the posttreatment phase, the telehealth participants had signicantly better scores than the controls for physical well-being (20.6 vs 17.0, P = .02) and trial outcome index (59.9 vs. 50.2, P = .04) on the FACT-HN, and total scores on the MSAS (0.9 vs. 1.2, P = .04). The moderate sample size of 80 patients limits the power to measure more subtle impacts of the intervention. Using telehealth to provide support to patients with head and neck cancer during the acute phase of treatment improved some aspects of posttreatment QoL and symptom burden. ©2015 Frontline Medical Communications.01/2015; 13(1):14-21. DOI:10.12788/jcso.0101
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ABSTRACT: Purpose The purpose of the evaluation of this clinic-supported 12-week progressive strength-training program was to assess the feasibility and impact of an exercise intervention for head and neck cancer (HNC) survivors. Methods Recruitment and adherence feasibility, as well as health-related fitness measures and patient-reported symptom management were assessed on the 21 HNC survivors in the exercise program. Results Overall, this program was feasible, as indicated by recruitment, adherence, and safety outcomes. Survivors experienced improved acute symptom management over the period of one exercise class for tiredness, depression, anxiety, drowsiness, and overall wellbeing. Over the course of the program, survivors experienced significant improvements in physical functioning outcomes and improved management of tiredness and fatigue. Conclusions A progressive strength-training program is feasible for HNC survivors on and following treatment and is associated with improved acute and chronic fitness outcomes and symptom management.Supportive Care Cancer 09/2014; 23(4). DOI:10.1007/s00520-014-2436-4 · 2.50 Impact Factor
Dataset: Protocol. Trials