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Few studies have prospectively investigated psychological morbidity in UK head and neck cancer patients. This study aimed to explore changes in psychological symptoms over time, and associations with patients' tumour and treatment characteristics, including toxicity.
Two hundred and twenty patients were recruited to complete the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Late Effects on Normal Tissue (Subjective, Objective, Management and Analytic) (‘LENT-SOMA’) questionnaires, both pre- and post-treatment.
Anxiety was highest pre-treatment (38 per cent) and depressive symptoms peaked at the end of treatment (44 per cent). Anxiety significantly decreased and depression significantly increased, comparing pre- versus post-treatment responses (p < 0.001). Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale scores were significantly correlated with toxicity, age and chemotherapy (p < 0.01 for all).
This is the first study to analyse the relationship between Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale scores and toxicity scores in head and neck cancer patients. It lends support for the use of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Late Effects on Normal Tissue (Subjective, Objective, Management and Analytic) questionnaire in routine clinical practice; furthermore, continued surveillance is required at multiple measurement points.
The aim of this study was to explore the symptom experience of patients with cancer, identify changes in symptoms over time, and explore the congruence of symptom reports between patients and their informal caregivers.
This was a prospective longitudinal evaluation of symptoms over 1 year from start of treatments (T1) using the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale. Assessments and follow up took place at 3 months (T2), 6 months (T3) and 12 months (T4). A heterogeneous sample of 100 patients with cancer participated, providing 325 assessments over time. Furthermore, 82 caregivers also participated, providing 238 dyadic patient–caregiver assessments over the same time.
The most commonly occurring, and by far most distressing, symptom was “lack of energy.” Common symptoms reported were lack of concentration, difficulties sleeping, shortness of breath, cough, pain, dry mouth, and feeling drowsy. Symptom occurrence and distress improved over time, particularly from T2 to T3 (p < 0.05), but the “chronicity” of some generic symptoms was notable. Caregivers tended to overestimate occurrence and distress compared to patients, particularly in symptoms of psychological nature; κ statistics had a highest coefficient of 0.45, suggesting moderate agreement between patients and caregivers at best.
Significance of results:
More attention needs to be paid to the commonly reported symptoms by patients, as they have the potential of impacting on quality of life (QOL). As patient–caregiver reports had moderate agreement, effort should be directed to improving this agreement, as caregivers are often communicating patient symptoms to clinicians.
The electroglottogram approximate entropy value is a numerical variable which gives an overall measure of voice quality. It is derived by analysing the complexity of the electroglottogram waveform using regulatory statistics.
(1) To use electroglottogram approximate entropy to measure voice quality in patients with glottic pathology and in normal subjects, to ascertain whether this parameter can distinguish between pathological and normal voices. (2) To ascertain whether electroglottogram approximate entropy can measure voice change over time within individual subjects. (3) To determine any correlation between electroglottogram approximate entropy and the grade–roughness–breathiness–asthenia–strain scale.
One hundred and forty-one normal volunteers were recruited to characterise electroglottogram approximate entropy in the normal voice. One hundred and eighty-six patients with glottic squamous cell carcinoma underwent electroglottogram approximate entropy measurement prior to radiotherapy and then three to six months and one year after treatment. Subjects’ voices were categorised by a speech therapist using the grade–roughness–breathiness–asthenia–strain scale.
The mean electroglottogram approximate entropy of the normal volunteers was 0.302 (range 0.05–0.42). The mean electroglottogram approximate entropy of the glottic squamous cell carcinoma patients was significantly lower prior to treatment, at 0.227 (range 0.001–0.397; p < 0.0005), but improved after radiotherapy to 0.277 at three to six months and 0.282 at one year. Electroglottogram approximate entropy results correlated significantly with grade–roughness–breathiness–asthenia–strain scale results.
Electroglottogram approximate entropy can be used to assess change in voice quality resulting from glottic morphological abnormality. Electroglottogram approximate entropy values improve as voice quality improves after treatment. Electroglottogram approximate entropy values correlate significantly with grade–roughness–breathiness–asthenia–strain scale results.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scanning has recently been introduced into clinical practice but its usefulness in the management of head and neck cancer is not well defined. The aim of this prospective preliminary study was to examine the clinical value of fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) – PET in patients with head and neck cancer treated by radiotherapy with surgery in reserve by (i) relating quantitative uptake of isotope to tumour type and histological grade and (ii) comparing the imaging findings of PET and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in post-radiotherapy assessment of tumour response. Twenty-one patients had pre-treatment PET and MRI scans and these were repeated four and eight months after treatment if there was no clinical relapse. Pre-treatment uptake of FDG using tumour to cerebellar ratio parameters was significantly related to the histological grade of squamous cancer (p = 0.04) but not to tumour type. Discordance of post-treatment PET/MRI findings in one case indicates a possible role for PET in the early detection of tumour recurrence. Other potential uses of PET scanning in the management of head and neck cancer are discussed.
Oxygen saturation was measured during anaesthesia and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) using ear oximetry. Significant hypoxia occurred during some treatments; desaturation related to the number of ventilations performed after muscle relaxation and prior to the shock. Desaturation did not correlate significantly with seizure duration. These findings highlight the need for adequate oxygenation during ECT.