Mental depression is associated with malnutrition in patients with head and neck cancer

Archives of Otolaryngology--head & Neck Surgery
T WestinS Edström

Abstract

We have studied the prevalence of mental disorder in a variety of patients with head and neck cancer in different stages of disease and treatment. All together, 59 patients were studied according to a comprehensive psychopathologic rating score and nutritional status. Six patients refused to answer the comprehensive psychopathologic rating score questionnaire. Of the remaining 53 patients, 13 patients were classified as mentally disordered. Five patients were classified as mentally depressed according to a specific comprehensive psychopathologic rating scale depression score. We found that depression was significantly linked to malnutrition. In total, 30% of our patients with cancer with weight loss demonstrated features that were consonant with depression. This suggests that mental depression is associated with physical improvement rather than with the malignant condition per se.

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