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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 88--92

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


1 Department of Radiation Oncology, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Integrative Oncology, HCG Bangalore Institute of Oncology, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Bangalore Institute of Oncology, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Naveen Salins
Department of Integrative Oncology, HCG Bangalore Institute of Oncology, Bangalore, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0973-1075.116703

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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.






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