Emotional Well-Being May Not Improve Cancer Survival

Emotional health not associated with survival in study patients with head and neck cancer

MONDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with head and neck cancer who report greater levels of emotional well-being do not have improved survival over those reporting lower levels of emotional health, according to research published online Oct. 22 in the journal Cancer.

James C. Coyne, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues analyzed survey data from over 1,500 individuals with head and neck cancer who were enrolled in two clinical trials, in order to investigate a potential association between emotional well-being and overall survival.

The researchers found no statistically significant correlation between emotional well-being and survival in patients with head and neck cancer. This lack of association persisted in univariate, multivariate and exploratory analyses.

The investigators warn that because this data was from patients enrolled in two clinical trials, it may not be representative of head and neck cancer patients as a whole. Nonetheless, "the current results add to the weight of the evidence that emotional functioning is not an independent predictor of survival in cancer patients. The study had the advantage of a large number of deaths to be explained in a sample with the uniformity of treatment and quality of care that is required in clinical trials," the authors conclude.

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