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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 500-507

Quality of life of head and neck cancer patients before and after cancer-directed treatment – A longitudinal study

1 Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College, Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir, India
2 Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology, Government Medical College, Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Correspondence Address:
Deepika Dewan
Government Medical College, Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcrt.JCRT_311_18

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Context: Head-and-neck cancer (HNC) is a major health problem worldwide and even disproportionately bigger in India. Their diagnosis and treatment create severe impact on the quality of life (QOL). We chose to study such patients because we were already reporting these cancers to the Indian Council of Medical Research as part of project titled “Pattern of care and survival studies.” Aims: The aim of the study is to assess and compare QOL of H and N cancer patients before and after the completion of cancer-directed treatment (CDT). Settings and Design: The present study was a hospital-based study conducted in the tertiary care hospital of Jammu with longitudinal study design. Subjects and Methods: All newly diagnosed HNC patients registered with the Department of Radiotherapy and ENT on inpatient or outpatient basis were included over a period of 6 months. Each patient was followed for 4–6 weeks after the completion of CDT. QOL was assessed by the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30 (QLQ C30) (general) and EORTC QLQ H and N-35 (specific) questionnaires. Statistical Analysis: Paired t-test was calculated to compare pre- and postmean scores. Pre- and post-Cronbach alpha reliability coefficient was also calculated. Results: The most frequent site was larynx followed by the oral cavity. Regarding both EORTC QLQ C-30 questionnaire and Global health status and EORTC H and N-35 specific questionnaires, the mean scores across all domains showed worsening of QoL from their baseline. The worsening was more severe in emotional function (functional scale), while physical, cognitive, and social functions were comparatively less affected. Pain, swallowing, speech, and mouth problems were most worsened. Conclusions: QoL showed worsening after CDT in all domains due to acute and subacute adverse effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in treatment course.

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