A National Evaluation of Food Insecurity in a Head and Neck Cancer Population

Laryngoscope. 2020 Oct 24. doi: 10.1002/lary.29188. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: To determine the food security status of patients with a history of head and neck cancer and compare to other types of cancer.

STUDY DEIGN: A retrospective analysis using the National Health Interview Series.

METHODS: The National Health Interview Series (NHIS) for the calendar years 2014 to 18 was used to elicit food security status (secure, marginally secure/not secure) among adult patients with a history of throat/pharynx head and neck cancer (pHNC), thyroid cancer, and colon cancer. The relationship between food security and the primary site was compared and subanalyses were performed according to sex, race, and ethnicity.

RESULTS: The study population included 199.0 thousand patients with pHNC, with 17.7% (95% confidence interval, 10.5%-28.1%) of pHNC patients reporting their food security status as marginally secure or not secure. Food insecurity was significantly higher among pHNC patients when compared to thyroid cancer (insecurity 10.7%, [7.7%-14.7%]) and colon cancer patients (10.1%, [7.8%-13.2%]). Among pHNC patients, there was no significant difference in rates of food insecurity when stratified by gender, race, or ethnicity. However, black individuals were more likely to have food insecurity with a history of thyroid or colon cancer (P < .042) and Hispanics were more likely to have food insecurity with a history of thyroid cancer (P = .005).

CONCLUSIONS: Food insecurity disproportionally affects patients with a history of pHNC, though there is less demographic variability when compared to other cancer primary sites. Food security assessments should be part of the tailored approach to survivorship management in head and neck cancer.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 4 Laryngoscope, 2020.

PMID:33098320 | DOI:10.1002/lary.29188