Anxiety, Depression and Psychosocial Support of Patients with Laryngeal Cancer

Background: Laryngeal cancer is one of the most common and significant causes of changes in voice. It gives rise to a variety of physical and psychosocial issues, the most common of which are anxiety and depression that necessitate effective intervention. Aim: Exploration of the impact of interpersonal support on anxiety and depression in patients with laryngeal cancer who have undergone total or partial laryngectomy or other forms of treatment. Method: The study followed a cross sectional survey design, with a convenience sample of 128 patients with laryngeal cancer hospitalized in large public hospitals of the cities of Athens and Thessaloniki. The patients were divided into two groups: group A, consisting of 65 patients who had undergone total laryngectomy, and group B of 63 patients who followed other treatment options, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, with maintenance of speech. The patients completed a set of questionnaires including: the Self Rated Depression Scale (SDSZung), the Self Rated Anxiety Scale (SAS-Zung), and the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL). Statistical analysis using SPSS 15.0 was conducted employing the Mann-Whitney U-test and the Pearson correlation. Results: Group A patients reported higher levels of anxiety (p=0.002) and depression (p<0.001) than group B patients. Regarding interpersonal support, group B scored higher values on all ISEL subscales compared to group A; specifically, the differences were statistically significant for the subscales of appraisal (p<0.001), belonging (p<0.001), tangible help (p=0.021) and self esteem (p=0.044). Higher levels of psychosocial support were associated with reduction in the levels of anxiety and depression:For anxiety, correlation was shown with the subscales of appraisal (r=-0.342, p<0.001), tangible help (r=-0.254, p=0.004), self-esteem (r=-0.386, p<0.001) and belonging (r=-0.416 p<0,001); for depression correlation was shown with the subscales of appraisal (r=-0.411 p<0.001), tangible help (r=-0.336, p<0.001), self-esteem (r=-0.462, p<0.001) and (r=-0.494, p<0.001). Conclusions: The interpersonal support that patients with laryngeal cancer receive appears to reduce the levels of anxiety and depression that they experience after treatment. For this reason, health professionals should assess in advance, through discussion and communication, the strategies of coping with the disease that the patients are likely to adopt adopt, and their available resources, in order to enhance both their coping skills and their support.