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Prevalence and clinical and psychological correlates of high fear of cancer recurrence in patients newly diagnosed with head and neck cancer

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Spela Mirosevic, Belinda Thewes, Carla van Herpen, Johannes Kaanders, Thijs Merkx, Gerry Humphris, Robert J. Baatenburg de Jong, Johannes A. Langendijk, C. René Leemans, Chris H. J. Terhaard, Irma M. Verdonck-de Leeuw, Robert Takes, Judith Prins, NET-QUBIC Consortium

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Background: Patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) are vulnerable to fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) and psychiatric morbidity. We investigated the prevalence of high FCR and demographic, clinical, psychological, and psychiatric factors associated with high FCR prior to the start of the treatment.

Methods: In a cross-sectional substudy of the large ongoing prospective NET-QUBIC study questionnaires and psychiatric interviews of 216 patients newly diagnosed with HNC were analyzed.

Results: High FCR was observed in 52.8% of patients and among those 21.1% also had a lifetime history of selected anxiety or major depressive disorder. FCR was not related to any clinical characteristics; however, younger age, higher anxiety symptoms, introversion, greater needs for support regarding sexuality, and being an exsmoker were significantly associated with higher FCR.

Conclusion: Factors associated with high FCR provide us with a better conceptual understanding of FCR in patients newly diagnosed with HNC.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3187-3200
Number of pages14
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number9
Early online date7 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

    Research areas

  • Anxiety, Depression, Fear of recurrence, Head and neck cancer, Smoking

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