Quality of Life and Voice in Patients With Laryngeal Carcinoma: A Posttreatment Comparison of Laryngectomy (Salvage Surgery) Versus Radiotherapy

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This study was designed to compare the voice and the quality of life (QOL) of laryngeal cancer patients receiving treatment with radical radiotherapy with or without laryngectomy as salvage surgery. We also compared the patients' own perceptual ratings of their voice to the perceptual ratings of a group of listeners.

Study Design:

Two groups of laryngeal cancer patients were studied.


Fourteen irradiated laryngeal speakers with preserved larynx were matched with 14 salvage surgery laryngectomized patients speaking with tracheoesophageal prosthesis (TEP). To measure patients' QOL, we used the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Core Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30), the EORTC Head and Neck module (EORTC QLQ-H&N35), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HAD) and a study-specific questionnaire. For the perceptual speech evaluation we used visual analog scales.


The perceptual ratings of speech intelligibility, voice quality, and speech acceptability showed a significant difference between the treatment groups. Both the patients who received treatment with radiotherapy and the listeners rated the irradiated laryngeal voices higher than the tracheoesophageal speech. The laryngectomized patients scored significantly better than the patients treated with radical radiotherapy on the question about hoarseness. No other significant difference was found for the QOL functions and symptoms.


When patients treated with radiotherapy were compared with patients treated with laryngectomy as salvage surgery, QOL was similar, only small differences being found in the perceptual speech evaluation.

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