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Assessment of Shame and Stigma in Head and Neck Cancer: A Meta-Analysis



Head and neck cancer is the most common cancer around the globe, following lung cancer and breast cancer. Treatment at advanced stages of head and neck cancer is usually followed intense surgical procedures, which leads to mutilation among patients. Mutilation imparts a sense of disgrace and causes a feeling of shame and stigma in the patient. The feeling of shame and stigma persists over time and affects the overall long-term survival of patients by deteriorating their quality of life.


Since shame and stigma is an important psychological domain of head and neck cancer, the present article aims toward evaluating the studies published so far for the assessment of shame and stigma in head and neck cancer and highlighting the lacunae in the existing research designs. The present study also aims to design a checklist that could be followed while developing, translating, or validating a psychometric instrument that aims to measure shame and stigma in head and neck cancer.


In the present metanalysis, all articles published in the past years on shame and stigma in head and neck cancer was compiled using a predefined data extraction matrix. The available literature was compiled for major objectives of the study, the sample size used, major findings, and critical lacunae that need to be addressed.


Shame and stigma is a very important domain of psychological well-being in head and neck cancer patients, which yet not appropriately addressed and further need to be researched.


Future studies could be based on the lacunae highlighted in the existing literature, and the prescribed methodology checklist could be taken into consideration while conducting further studies involving developing, translating, or validating a psychometric instrument related to shame and stigma in the head and neck cancer.

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Authors highly acknowledge the colleagues who reviewed the present work. Proofreading of the manuscript was performed by the doc navigator© Chandigarh.


The present work was supported by the Junior Research Fellowship provided by ICMR, New Delhi, wide Award No. 3/13/JRF -2015/HRD.

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All authors are equally contributed to the present work.

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Correspondence to Atul Kumar Goyal.

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The present study has been approved by the institute ethics committee (Letter No. INT/IEC/2019/002539 with Ref No. NK/5657/Ph.D.).

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Goyal, A.K., Bakshi, J., Panda, N.K. et al. Assessment of Shame and Stigma in Head and Neck Cancer: A Meta-Analysis. J. Maxillofac. Oral Surg. (2021).

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  • Shame
  • Stigma
  • Psychology
  • Cancer
  • Surgery
  • Quality of life