Head and Neck Cancer Survivors: Specific Needs and Their Implications for Survivorship Care Planning

Callie M. Berkowitz

Deborah "Hutch" Allen

Jennifer Tenhover

Leah L. Zullig

Jonathan E. Fischer

Kathryn I. Pollak

Minoka R. Hicks

John V. Hillson

Bridget F. Koontz

head and neck cancer, survivorship, supportive care, post-treatment, side effects
CJON 2018, 22(5), 523-528. DOI: 10.1188/18.CJON.523-528

Background: Head and neck cancer (HNC) survivors experience significant sequelae of treatment, including long-term physical side effects and ongoing cancer surveillance.

Objectives: The aim of this study is to understand patients’ survivorship knowledge gaps and supportive care needs.

Methods: Through an anonymous cross-sectional survey, the authors evaluated 41 HNC survivors’ knowledge regarding post-treatment issues.

Findings: Patients had undergone a variety of treatment modalities: radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. Most had primary care providers, regular dental care, and caregivers. HNC survivors’ correct responses to side effect knowledge questions were lowest for items regarding hearing loss, sleep, tiredness, and anxiety. About one-fourth correctly identified cancer risk with alcohol intake. The majority correctly linked tobacco products to cancer recurrence.

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