Even after successful treatment a head and neck cancer survivor is still likely to face a number of challenges – and not everyone can cope with them. Lead story this week is about post treatment suicides and why depression alone is not a warning sign.

The second story is another pro-exercise piece. However I would suspect someone who does no exercise at all is probably in pretty poor physical shape anyway so the fact they are at increased risk of cancer is hardly a surprise.

# You’re unlikely to see negative reviews when shopping online for a parachute
# Adulthood begins when dandelions stop being flowers and start being weeds.
# You shouldn't worry if your life feels incomplete. If it was complete you'd be dead.

More Can Be Done to Prevent Suicide in Head and Neck Cancer Survivors
(U.S.) These findings bring light to a pressing problem in this patient population, and will hopefully pave the way for more awareness and potential change in practices.

While head and neck cancers make up a small percentage of overall cancer diagnoses, the number of survivors who commit suicide is, unfortunately, higher, according to research recently presented at the 2018 Cancer Survivorship Symposium.

“We were not surprised that the burden of suicide was high among survivors of head and neck cancer. We have seen from the patients and from the literature that head and neck cancer survivors are very courageous men and women who have to deal with a lot of physical, social and emotional issues after their treatment,” study author Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters, BDS, MPH, CHES, instructor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at St. Louis University, said.

“The surprise, however, was what we found when we compared head and neck specifically to the other common cancers in the US. Yet, we found it is indeed a top two cancer site for suicide. That was the surprise.”

Both males and females with head and neck cancer had about a 45 percent higher suicide ratio compared to all other cancers

One possible explanation for the findings is that survivors of head and neck cancer face significant and unique quality of life issues, such as facial disfiguration, taste change or, when it comes to swallowing, survivors face pain or a lack of ability to do so.

“There are several other factors than depression that could drive a cancer survivor into suicide, and we are not addressing these very much because, from a clinical perspective, the focus has heavily been on depression,” he said.

Other contributing factors Osazuwa-Peters mentioned were pain, fear of recurrence, loss of employment and financial toxicity.

Full story:

Sedentary Lifestyle Causes Risk of Lung, Head and Neck Cancers to Skyrocket
(U.S.) Countless studies have illustrated the benefits of exercise both for patients with or without chronic diseases. Despite an increasing body of evidence suggesting a lack of physical activity can increase the risk of certain diseases, it is not widely recognized as a risk factor for cancer.

Two new studies published by Cancer Treatment Research Communications and European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology have directly linked physical activity with the development of lung cancer and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

These findings add 2 more diseases to a growing list of cancers that result from sedentary behaviors.

Patients who reported no history of regular, weekly, or recreational exercise had a greater risk of developing cancer compared with those who engaged in at least 1 weekly session of exercise, according to the study.

Full story:

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Diana Ayling

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  • Apparently there is no indication that head and neck cancer patients are more at risk of suicide in NZ. There's a lot of distress out there though.


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