Head/neck cancer patients have unique mental health needs

The European Head and Neck Cancer Society (EHNS) has published new recommendations for the best practice management of the psycho-oncologic aspects of head and neck cancer patients in the Annals of Oncology (March 7, 2014).

Head and neck cancer patients are four times as likely as those in the general population to commit suicide, according to the authors. Further studies have reported that people with head and neck cancer have mental health conditions and psychological distress more often than other cancer patients.

Developed by a multidisciplinary group of experts in the field of head and neck cancer as part of the EHNS's Make Sense Campaign, these new recommendations aim to encourage greater psychological support for patients at every stage. The authors suggest this support is beneficial in helping patients achieve the best possible results from their treatment and, ultimately, improve their health outcomes.

The recommendations advise that that each patient be allocated a contact person for support. This individual would offer practical support, such as encouraging attendance at hospital appointments or how to fit treatment around daily life, and also monitor for changes in the patient's mental health.

Page 1 of 6
Next Page