Survivorship needs after head and neck cancer treatment.
10062 Background: Head and neck cancer (HNC) survivors experience significant sequelae of treatment, including long-term physical side effects and ongoing surveillance for recurrence and secondary malignancy. Given the complicated trajectory of HNC survivors, survivorship care plans educating patients and their caregivers about treatment and recovery may be beneficial. However, little is known about patients’ knowledge gaps related to survivor issues. Methods: Through a prospective anonymous self-administered survey, we evaluated the baseline knowledge of HNC survivors regarding common post-treatment issues and mediating factors. Forty-one HNC patients within 3 months of completing treatment participated between July-November 2016. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize patient responses. Results: Patients had undergone a variety of treatment modalities: radiation (97%), chemotherapy (71%), and surgery (39%). 85% of patients had primary care providers, 56% had regular dental care, and 44% had dental insurance. 78% had caregivers. HNC survivors’ correct responses to side-effect (SE) knowledge questions were lowest for items regarding hearing loss (15%), sleep (33%), tiredness (38%), and anxiety (49%). Only 28% correctly identified cancer risk with alcohol intake. 87% correctly linked tobacco products to cancer recurrence. Patients were most interested in learning via discussions with nurse or doctor (76%) followed by reading written materials (61%), and researching online (32%). Most patients desired to learn more about their cancer (73%), short-term SE (80%), and long-term SE (77%). Conclusions: Our study demonstrated clear gaps in knowledge and healthcare access that may inform targeted, individualized survivorship care plans. Patients had the largest knowledge deficits for alcohol use and recurrence, hearing loss after treatment, and a variety of emotional effects of cancer treatment. These topics should be addressed during delivery of survivorship care plans and surveillance encounters to improve survivorship knowledge.
Berkowitz, C; Allen, DH; Tenhover, J; Zullig, LL; Fischer, JE; Pollak, KI; Hicks, MR; Hillson, JV; Koontz, BF
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