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Psychological symptoms in adult Saudi Arabian cancer patients: prevalence and association with self-rated oral health

Authors Ahmed AE, Albalawi AN, Qureshey ET, Qureshey AT, Yenugadhati N, AL-Jahdali H, Jazieh AR

Received 14 March 2018

Accepted for publication 31 May 2018

Published 3 October 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 153—159


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Pranela Rameshwar

Anwar E Ahmed,1,2 Alhanouf N Albalawi,3 Eiman T Qureshey,3 Aisha T Qureshey,3 Nagarajkumar Yenugadhati,2 Hamdan AL-Jahdali,4 Abdul Rahman Jazieh5

1King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 2College of Public Health and Health Informatics, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 3Riyadh Elm University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 4College of Medicine, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 5Department of Oncology, King Abdulaziz Medical City for National Guard, Ministry of National Guard, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Background: Although psychological symptoms and oral health status are associated with health management and outcomes among cancer patients, their association has not been assessed in Saudi Arabia. We aimed to assess the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress and their association with their oral health status, adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical factors. 
Methods: A self-reported study included 375 adult cancer patients who received outpatient healthcare services in the Oncology Department, King Abdulaziz Medical City-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, between April 1 and August 31, 2017. We used the Arabic version of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale to dichotomize a binary outcome for each. Oral health was evaluated by self-rating from “very good” to “bad”.
Results: A high prevalence of subjective depression, anxiety, and stress was found (44.8%, 52.5%, and 42.7%, respectively). Of the sample, 17.9% self-reported “bad” oral health, which is associated with a high risk of anxiety and stress, and its association remains significant after controlling for other factors (adjusted odds ratio=6.48 and 4.73, respectively). Being <60 years old, high level of formal education, low income, breast cancer, and lung cancer were associated with increased psychological symptoms.
Conclusion: Every 6 in 10 cancer patients in this study reported at least one psychosocial symptom. The findings suggest that there exists an association between self-reported “bad” oral health and psychosocial symptoms. Being <60 years old, low income, high level of formal education, breast cancer, and lung cancer were associated with psychological symptoms. Routine psychological counseling and oral health screening in outpatient oncology clinics may improve psychological outcomes and cancer management.

Keywords: depression, anxiety, stress, dental health, cancer, Saudi

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