Quality of life of nasopharyngeal carcinoma survivors in Mainland China

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The aim of this study is to evaluate the quality of life (QoL) of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) survivors. 192 NPC survivors treated in 1999 and 2000 were enrolled in this study. Median follow up was 3.6 years (range 2.4–4.6 years). The Chinese SF-36 questionnaire and a self-reported symptom checklist consisting of 14 items were completed at clinics. Sociodemographic factors and clinical information were also collected. Most functional domains of the Chinese SF-36 were significantly worse in NPC survivors compared to the normal population. Xerostomia, hearing loss, hypomnesia, dysphagia, and trismus were frequently reported symptoms. Sociodemographic variables including gender, age, dialect, educational level, monthly income, economic status, and number of comorbidities were univariate predictors of different SF-36 domains and symptoms. Patients with earlier T and N stage, irradiated by linear accelerator, with lower dose and weekly dose to nasopharynx and neck, and those who had anterior nasal radiation field reported better QoL. Multiple stepwise regression analysis showed that the number of comorbidities, monthly income, age, and T stage were independent factors affecting global QoL. We concluded that NPC survivors had worse QoL than the normal population and improving radiotherapy might increase physical and functional domain of QoL.

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