Distress screening using distress thermometer in head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy and evaluation of causal factors predicting occurrence of distress

Shirley Lewis, Naveen Salins, Amrit Kadam, Raghavendra Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Distress is commonly seen in head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy. Causal factors of distress are multifactorial; which encompasses physical, psychological, spiritual, and existential factors with complex interrelationship among the factors. Materials and Methods: Thirty patients undergoing head and neck radiotherapy were included in the study. Patients were screened for pain scores, distress scores, physical and psychological symptoms, and spiritual and emotional distress. Results: Significant increasing trend seen for pain score, distress score, and total number of symptoms during 2 nd week, 4 th week, and on completion of radiotherapy treatment (all P′s < 0.001) compared to pretreatment. Those who had chemotherapy (CT) along with radiation had significantly greater pain score (t = 5.54, P = 0.03) and distress score (t = 3.9, P = 0.05) at 2 weeks into radiotherapy compared to those who did not receive CT. There was significantly higher grade of skin toxicity in those with spiritual distress (Somers′ d = 0.36, P = 0.02) and higher grade of mucositis in those with existential distress (d = 0.34, P = 0.02) at 4 weeks into radiotherapy. Conclusion: Positive correlation between distress score and pain score and occurrence of physical symptoms. Increasing trend seen for pain score, distress score, and total number of symptoms during 2 nd week, 4 th week, and completion of radiotherapy treatment compared to pretreatment. Increase in distress score in those with existential and spiritual distress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-92
Number of pages5
JournalIndian Journal of Palliative Care
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01-05-2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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