Among individuals with head and neck cancer (HNC), those who experienced childhood trauma were more likely to have advanced cancer, to have higher alcohol consumption, and to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings indicate that childhood trauma history should be considered during treatment for HNC.
Individuals may experience high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression during and after cancer diagnosis and treatment. Patients with HNC display emotional responses that may affect their adherence to treatment, and the maintenance of smoking and alcoholism.
Traumatic events in childhood have also been linked with the occurrence of anxiety and depression in adulthood. To evaluate the occurrence of childhood trauma in HNC patients and its association with anxiety and depression, a team led by Daniel Bernabé, PhD, of São Paulo State University, in Brazil, analyzed information on 110 patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma after they were diagnosed but before they started treatment.
Among the 110 patients, 105 (95.5 percent) had experienced at least one type of childhood trauma. The most common childhood trauma reported was emotional neglect (43.8 percent), followed by physical child abuse (30.5
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