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Voice rehabilitation after laryngeal cancer: Associated effects on psychological well-being

Journal article
Authors Liza Bergström
E. C. Ward
Caterina Finizia
Published in Supportive Care in Cancer
Volume 25
Issue 9
Pages 2683-2690
ISSN 0941-4355
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Otorhinolaryngology
Pages 2683-2690
Language en
Keywords Voice therapy, Speech-language pathology, Radiotherapy, quality-of-life, early glottic cancer, randomized controlled-trial, neck-cancer, functional outcomes, radiation-therapy, radiotherapy, carcinoma, head, communication, Oncology, Health Care Sciences & Services, Rehabilitation
Subject categories Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging, Otorhinolaryngology, Cancer and Oncology


Purpose Psychological distress after laryngeal cancer treatment is prevalent. Although voice rehabilitation has shown to improve functional outcomes and positively affect health-related quality of life, to date, there has been limited study of the associated effect of behavioural voice intervention on psychological well-being/distress post laryngeal cancer. Method Sixty-three patients with Tis-T4 laryngeal cancer treated with (chemo)radiotherapy were prospectively recruited and randomised to either a voice rehabilitation (VR, n = 31) or control group (n = 32). The VR group received 10 speech pathology sessions consisting of both direct and indirect voice intervention post (chemo)radiotherapy. The control group received general voice education but not specific intervention. As part of a multidisciplinary assessment battery, psychological well-being/distress was measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) pre, six and 12 months post VR. Results Within-group analysis revealed a significant (p = 0.03) reduction in the proportion of patients with anxiety in the VR group between baseline and 12 months. No change over time was observed in controls. Between-group analysis revealed a trend for fewer VR cases demonstrating anxiety (p = 0.06) or depression (p = 0.08) at 6 months and significantly fewer demonstrating anxiety (p = 0.04) and depression (p = 0.04) at 12 months, compared to controls. Significant correlations were observed between patients' voice perceptions and reduced anxiety (r(pb) = -0.38) and depression (r(pb) = -0.66) within the VR group at 12 months. Conclusions The positive correlations and between-group analyses indicate a positive effect on psychological well-being associated with completing voice rehabilitation. Results highlight potential additional benefits of behavioural voice intervention beyond achieving direct change to voice function.

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