1047P - Psychological distress and quality of life evaluation in head and neck cancer: the role of family caregiver

Date 01 October 2012
Event ESMO Congress 2012
Session Poster presentation III
Topics Psychosocial Aspects of Cancer
Head and Neck Cancers
Presenter Oliviero Ostellino
Authors O. Ostellino1, M. Airoldi2, M. Garzaro3, L. Raimondo3, G. Riva4, C. Bartoli3, S. Carnio2, G. Fora2, C. Giordano3, G. Pecorari3
  • 1Sc Oncologia 2, San Giovanni Battista Hospital, 10126 - Turin/IT
  • 2Medical Oncology Division - Medical Oncology Department, San Giovanni Battista Hospital, 10126 - Turin/IT
  • 31st Ent Division - Physiopathology Department, University of Turin, 10126 - Turin/IT
  • 4Physiopathology Department, University of Turin, 10126 - Turin/IT



Recently the figure of family caregiver (FCG) has become a hot topic and is still largely un-investigated among head and neck cancer patients; aim of our study was to describe in a more detailed way the role of FCG, to evaluate quality of life (QoL) and psychological distress of FCGs and patients, and to investigate relationships between FCG's wellbeing and patient's QoL and emotional pattern.


Sixty couples of patients and their caregivers were enrolled in this observational cross-sectional study between April 2007 and May 2011 at 1st ENT Division, 2th Medical Oncology Division and 2th Radiotherapy Division of San Giovanni Battista Hospital of Turin. Inclusion criteria were: histological diagnosis of SCC, advanced stage (III-IV), completion of curative treatment and no evidence of disease at the enrolment. Psycho-oncological assessment was performed using Distress Thermometer (DT), Stay-Trait Anxiety Inventory Manual in Y1 and Y2 form (STAI Y1-Y2), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MDRS), EORTC-QLQ-C30 and Head and Neck-35 module and Caregiver Quality of Life Index-Cancer (CQOLC).


Patients state and trait anxiety are 46,7% (STAI Y1 mean value 40,2 ± 10,2; cut-off 40) and 36,7% (STAI Y2 mean value 36,7 ± 8,2; cut off 40) respectively; self reported and clinician rated depression are 31,6% (BDI mean value 8,2 ± 5,3; cut-off 9) and 48,3% (MDRS mean value 7,9 ± 5,9; cut-off 6) respectively. FCGs: state and trait anxiety are 50% (STAI Y1 mean value 42,5 ± 9,9; cut-off 40) and 41,7% (STAI Y2 mean value 39,1 ± 8,7; cut off 40) respectively; self reported and clinician rated depression are 28.3% (BDI mean value 7,3 ± 4,7; cut-off 9) and 41.7% (MDRS mean value 7,6 ± 5,8; cut-off 6) respectively. Data analysis underlined a positive association among emotional scales of patients and caregivers. Patients' psychological aspects are negatively associated with caregivers' QoL and viceversa.


Anxiety and depression are often present in FCGs and cured HNC patients. Long term patient's QoL is the result of a frail balance between FCG and patient emotional and psychological distress. A psychological support for FCG could improve patient wellbeing.


All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.