Professional psychological support and care for patients with oral cancer is necessary during the diagnosis to ensure patient adherence to professional recommendations and improve prognosis, according to a study published online ahead of print in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer.1

For the study, researchers sought to describe the sociodemographic characteristics, perceptions, expectations, and psychological symptoms of patients during the diagnosis process of their oral cancer. Researchers assessed patients before they underwent biopsy and after diagnosis. Before biopsy, 49 patients were evaluated for sociodemographics, perceived social support, anxiety, depression, alcohol use, as well as their perceptions, feelings, and expectations. After diagnosis, 29 patients were reassessed for anxiety and depression symptoms.

Results showed that depression symptoms were more common among patients with oral cancer before biopsy than among those without disease (P<.05). In addition, 40.8% and 32.6% of patients presented with anxiety and alcohol abuse behavior, respectively.

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Researchers found that lower income and living with a partner were associated with more frequent negative feelings (P<.05), while older age and depressive symptoms were associated with negative expectations regarding diagnosis (P<.05).

The study also demonstrated that patients with anxiety and depression symptoms more commonly reported negative feelings after diagnosis (P<.01 and P<.05, respectively).


1. Graner KM, Rolim GS, Moraes ABA, et al. Feelings, perceptions, and expectations of patients during the process of oral cancer diagnosis [published online ahead of print November 27, 2015]. Supp Care Cancer. doi:10.1007/s00520-015-3030-0.