Late complications and long-term quality of life for survivors (>5 years) with history of head and neck cancer


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Abstract

Background.Quality of life (QOL) outcomes become critical for survivors of head and neck cancer. Most QOL studies were based on <5-year outcomes and very few addressed >5-year outcomes. This study focused late complications and >5-year outcomes and also compared the 2 standard treatments.Methods.The long-term problems were identified through mail surveys. The 2 treatment arms were compared for differences.Results.Seventy-three of 234 possible survivors were identified as still living. Forty-seven returned responses were analyzed to determined problems and QOL. Fifty-three percent reported delayed complications which occurred after 5 years. When the 2 treatments were compared, no statistically significant differences were noted. The survivors in the chemoradiotherapy (CRT) group reported greater difficulties with swallowing, sticky saliva, feeding tube, and weight gain. The survivors in the surgery and postoperative radiation therapy (SRT) group reported more problems with trismus.Conclusion.Some complications do not occur until after 5 years. The CRT group tended to have more problems. Head Neck, 2012

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