Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 189--193

Symptom burden and quality of life in advanced head and neck cancer patients: AIIMS study of 100 patients

1 Department of Radiation Oncology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Oto Rhino Laryngology and Head Neck Surgery, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Medical Oncology,All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Ajeet Kumar Gandhi
Department of Radiation Oncology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1075.138389

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Aim: Head and neck cancers (HNCa) are the most common cancers among males in India and 70-80% present in advanced stage. The study aims to assess symptom burden and quality of life (QOL) in advanced incurable HNCa patients at presentation. Materials and Methods: One hundred patients were asked to fill EORTC QLQ-C15-PAL questionnaire, which consisted of Global QOL, physical functioning (PF), emotional functioning (EF), fatigue (FA), nausea-vomiting (NV), pain (PA), dyspnea (DY), sleep (SL), appetite (AP), and constipation (CO). Additional questions pertaining to swallowing (SW), hoarseness (HO), cough (CG), weight loss (WL), using pain killers (PK), taste (TA), bleeding (BL), hearing (HE), pain in neck lump (PALMP), opening mouth (OM), and oral secretions (OS) were asked based on a modified EORTC-HN35 questionnaire. Scoring was according to EORTC scoring manual. Mean, median and range were calculated for each item for the entire cohort. Results: The female:male ratio was 17:83.42% of them were ≥60 years of age. Sixty-six patients had T4, 25 had T3, 36 had N2, and 33 had N3 disease. Median QOL was 50 (range 0-83.33) and PF was 77.78 (0-100). Median score for EF and FA was 50. Median score for PA, PK, and SL was 66.67 while that for AP was 33.33. Median value for SW, HO, WL, BL, PALMP, OM, and OS was 33.33 (100-0) while TA, CG, NV, DY, and HE had a median score of 0.00. Conclusion: Advanced HNCa has a significant burden of symptoms. These results would help in giving patients better symptom directed therapies and improve their QOL.


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