Thermoformed Mask Anxiety in RT Treatment: From Myth to RealityAuthor(s): Abidi Rim, Mousli Alia*, Bettaeib Ons, Yahyaoui Safia, Yousfi Amani, Bram Nesrine, Asma Belaid and Nasr Chiraz
Introduction: RT for cancers is considered to be anxiety-inducing, due to its "unknown" nature for patients and the importance of immobilization which can be oppressive and uncomfortable in some situations. This study aims to evaluate the anxiety related to Radiotherapy (RT) masks immobilization and the coping strategies adopted by patients with Head and Neck Cancer (HNC).
Methods: This was a descriptive transverse study carrying on 25 patients undergoing RT, in Salah Azaiz institute department during July 2020. Patients were treated for HNC with a thermoformed mask. Screening for restraint mask anxiety was assessed using the Distress Thermometer (DT).
Results: The median age of patients was 54.8 years. Twenty-one patients were males and 4 females. Only 5 patients had a university education, 2 patients were illiterate and 18 patients had a low level of education. Thirteen patients (52%) were treated for nasopharyngeal cancer. Nine patients (36%) had surgery. Chemotherapy was delivered in 17 patients (68%). Fifteen patients (60%) were accompanied. Five had discussed the need for masks with their doctors. Mask anxiety was low, the mean score for perceived anxiety was 2.4 (0-8) according to DT. The majority of our patients (84%) had a score <4.
Conclusion: Although anxiety is present in patients treated with RT, it does not specifically concern the wearing of mask, and should be detected and treated early in order to improve the quality of life of cancerous patients.