Changes of symptoms and depression in oral cavity cancer patients receiving radiation therapy

Shu Ching Chen, Yeur Hur Lai*, Chun Ta Liao, Chia Chin Lin, Joseph Tung Chien Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

39 Scopus citations


The purposes of this study were to (1) examine changes in symptom severity and depression within 3 months of first undergoing radiation therapy (RT) or concurrent chemoradiation therapy (CCRT), and (2) identify factors involved in changes in symptom severity in newly diagnosed oral cavity cancer patients undergoing post-operative RT or CCRT. A prospective panel survey was conducted to assess changes in symptoms, depression, and disease- or treatment-related characteristics within 3 months of beginning RT or CCRT (pre-treatment and 1, 2, and 3 months from first receiving RT). A total of 76 eligible oral cavity cancer patients were recruited from the outpatient radiation department of a medical center in northern Taiwan. The results showed mild-to-moderate overall symptom and depression levels during treatment, with the five most distressing symptoms being swallowing difficulty, poor appetite, oral mucositis, pain, and fatigue. The severity of symptoms and depression peaked at ∼2 months from beginning RT or CCRT (T3). Changes in overall symptom severity were found to be significantly related to patients' radiation dose and depression level. These results can help advance understanding of changes in symptoms and facilitate prevention and management of symptoms associated with RT or CCRT. Psychological distress, particularly, depression, requires careful monitoring and management in oral cavity cancer patients undergoing RT or CCRT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-513
Number of pages5
JournalOral Oncology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 07 2010


  • Depression
  • Oral cavity cancer
  • Post-operative
  • Radiation
  • Symptom


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