A Multidimensional Study of Vocal Function Following Radiation Therapy for Laryngeal Cancers

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Abstract

Background:

Radiation therapy (XRT) has proven to be an effective curative modality in the treatment of laryngeal cancers. However, XRT also has deleterious effects on vocal function.

Aim:

To demonstrate the multidimensional nature of deficits in vocal function as a result of radiation therapy for laryngeal cancer.

Study Design:

Cohort study.

Methodology:

Vocal function parameters were chosen from the 5 domains of voice assessment to complete a multidimensional assessment battery. Adults irradiated (XRT group) for laryngeal cancers were compared to a control group of individuals with no history of head and neck cancers or radiation therapy. The control group was matched in age, sex, and pack years of smoking.

Results:

Eighteen participants were recruited for the study. The XRT group demonstrated significantly worse clinical values as compared to the control group across select parameters in the each of the 5 domains of voice assessment.

Discussion:

Radiation therapy for laryngeal cancers results in multidimensional deficits in vocal function. Notably, these deficits persist long term. In the present study sample, multidimensional deficits were persistent 2 to 7 years following completion of XRT. The observed multidimensional persistent vocal difficulties highlight the importance of vocal rehabilitation in the irradiated larynx cancer population.

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