An exploration of the experience of undergoing radiotherapy for head and neck cancer patients : a biopsychosocial approach

Goodall, Benjamin David

Clinical psychology
March 2007

Thesis or dissertation

© 2007 Benjamin David Goodall. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Aims: The objective of this research was to explore the changes in mood, memory and attention over the course of radiotherapy for treatment of head and neck cancer. This was with the aim of understanding head and neck cancer patients within the context of their illness and treatment; the biopsychosocial approach was used to explore this. To this end participants were asked for their subjective views on the process of undergoing radiotherapy treatment.

Method: The study employed a prospective, small numbers design with repeated measures. Seven patients who were diagnosed with cancer of the larynx between August 2005 and March 2006 were invited to participate in the study. Five participants completed the measures prior to radiotherapy, post-radiotherapy and at three-month follow-up.

Results: Participants reported changes in mood, memory and attention. Mood was found to decrease, with increased levels of both anxiety and depression reported. especially in the final two weeks of treatment. Memory and attention fluctuated over the course of treatment for all participants. Trends in the results are reported, along with the observation that there is great variability between individuals. which is important when considering the treatment and support of head and neck cancer patients.

Conclusions: The biopsychosocial approach may be helpful in considering patients with head and neck cancers, as it provides a framework for staff to consider all of the factors that interact to affect how patients adjust to their illness and cope with the treatment process.

Department of Clinical Psychology, The University of Hull
Ethos identifier
Qualification level
Qualification name
9 MB
QR Code