Print

'Who are our patients?' A Socio-Demographic Profile of Head and Neck Cancer Patients

Issue: Vol.10, No.4 - October 2011

« Back to Articles

Article Type: Manuscript

Download PDF Version »

  1. Dr Anne Wilson
    c/- Social Work Department, Ground Floor, Building 1, Princess Alexandra Hospital, ,rnrn
  2. Mr H Holewa
    Research Associate, Institute of Health and Social Science, Central Queensland University,
  3. Prof Pam McGrath
    NH & MRC Senior Research Fellow, Director, International Program of Psycho-Social Health Researh (IPP-SHR), Griffith University

The purpose of this study was to address a significant need for baseline local, Australian specific sociodemographic data at the time of diagnosis for people presenting with head and neck cancer. The findings provide fresh insights that challenge the assumption with regards to the socio- economically challenged profile of head and neck patients. Also of significance, the socio-demographic profile deepens our understanding of the psychosocial impact of the disease on work and employment, especially for those of working age. All data was obtained through patient medical chart audit and retrospective analysis of psychosocial and demographic assessment interview practitioner notes on all new service users who completed that assessment (n=301) at or just prior to the point of first presentation at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia Head and Neck Clinic in the calendar year 2008. Defined codes were developed through initial thematic analysis, team consensus and informed by current psychosocial health literature and health professionals working within the Clinic. Coded data was entered into SPSS to provide descriptive statistics such as frequency and percentage to provide a basis for analysis.

With the exception of age and gender distribution, all other variables such as accommodation type, work and income, marital/partnered status and Indigenous representation reflected the Australian norm. Such comparisons were made across all subgroups (Advanced oral, pharyngeal, laryngeal cancer; other advanced cancer; non-advanced cancer; noncancer) and metropolitan/regional home address. The findings indicate the potential for psychosocial distress associated with a change in work and financial situation before treatment commences for many of those aged 64 years and under; an age group that constitutes 50.2% of the total cohort. Services need to be tailored towards persons who may be vulnerable to psychosocial distress and available in a form and at a time which suits their specific needs.

Download PDF Version »

Favourites   Share / Bookmark

Also In This Issue

« Back to Articles