Prevalence and correlates of supportive care needs in oral cancer patients with and without anxiety during the diagnostic period

Shu-Ching Chen, Wen-Pin Yu, Tsung-Lan Chu, Hsiu-Chin Hung, Mei-Chu Tsai, Chun-Ta Liao
Cancer Nursing 2010, 33 (4): 280-9

BACKGROUND: Many oral cancer patients experience profound anxiety and supportive care needs during the diagnostic phase.

OBJECTIVE: The purposes of this study were to (1) examine and compare levels of disease impact, symptom distress, supportive care needs, and prevalence of unmet care needs in oral cancer patients with and without anxiety during the diagnostic period and (2) examine and compare the correlates of supportive care needs of patients in these 2 groups.

METHODS: A total of 165 oral cancer patients from the otolaryngology inpatient wards of a medical center in northern Taiwan participated in this study: 65 with anxiety and 100 without anxiety. A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a variety of questionnaires.

RESULTS: Patients with anxiety experienced higher levels of disease impact, intrusion, and avoidance than patients without anxiety. Both groups had moderate-to-severe levels of symptom distress and high supportive care needs, with the highest prevalence of unmet needs being in the area of health system and information, followed by psychological care. In patients with anxiety, overall supportive care needs were correlated to religious beliefs and symptom distress. In patients without anxiety, overall care needs were associated with time since diagnosis and symptom distress. Religion was most highly correlated with each need domain.

CONCLUSION: Assessment and screening for anxiety should be increased in head and neck cancer care outpatient settings to determine patients' mood during the diagnostic stage.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Provision of extensive information, satisfactory consultation, and spiritual encouragement are necessary to improve the quality of health care.


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