Substance use and mental health burden in head and neck and other cancer survivors: A National Health Interview Survey analysis

Sanjana Balachandra, Rebecca L. Eary, Rebecca Lee, Erin M. Wynings, David J. Sher, Teena Sura, Yulun Liu, Brittny N. Tillman, Baran D. Sumer, Elizabeth Mayfield Arnold, Jasmin A. Tiro, Simon C. Lee, Andrew T. Day

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Tobacco dependence, alcohol abuse, depression, distress, and other adverse patient-level influences are common in head and neck cancer (HNC) survivors. Their interrelatedness and precise burden in comparison with survivors of other cancers are poorly understood. Methods: National Health Interview Survey data from 1997 to 2016 were pooled. The prevalence of adverse patient-level influences among HNC survivors and matched survivors of other cancers were compared using descriptive statistics. Multivariable logistic regressions evaluating covariate associations with the primary study outcomes were performed. These included 1) current cigarette smoking and/or heavy alcohol use (>14 drinks per week) and 2) high mental health burden (severe psychological distress [Kessler Index ≥ 13] and/or frequent depressive/anxiety symptoms). Results: In all, 918 HNC survivors and 3672 matched survivors of other cancers were identified. Compared with other cancer survivors, more HNC survivors were current smokers and/or heavy drinkers (24.6% [95% CI, 21.5%-27.7%] vs 18.0% [95% CI, 16.6%-19.4%]) and exhibited a high mental health burden (18.6% [95% CI, 15.7%-21.5%] vs 13.0% [95% CI, 11.7%-14.3%]). In multivariable analyses, 1) a high mental health burden predicted for smoking and/or heavy drinking (odds ratio [OR], 1.4; 95% CI, 1.0-1.9), and 2) current cigarette smoking predicted for a high mental health burden (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.2-2.3). Furthermore, nonpartnered marital status and uninsured/Medicaid insurance status were significantly associated with both cigarette smoking and/or heavy alcohol use (ORs, 1.9 [95% CI, 1.4-2.5] and 1.5 [95% CI, 1.0-2.1], respectively) and a high mental health burden (ORs, 1.4 [95% CI, 1.1 -1.8] and 3.0 [95% CI, 2.2-4.2], respectively). Conclusions: Stakeholders should allocate greater supportive care resources to HNC survivors. The interdependence of substance abuse, adverse mental health symptoms, and other adverse patient-level influences requires development of novel, multimodal survivorship care interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-121
Number of pages10
JournalCancer
Volume128
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

Keywords

  • National Health Interview Survey
  • alcohol use
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • disparities
  • head and neck cancer
  • tobacco use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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