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Head Neck. 1996 Jan-Feb;18(1):1-10.

Longitudinal assessment of quality of life in laryngeal cancer patients.

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  • 1University of Chicago Cancer Research Center, IL 60637, USA.



Although quality of life (QL) and performance status are important outcomes in head and neck (HN) cancer, there is little systematic inclusion of these parameters in treatment trials.


Rate and recovery of function were evaluated over a 6-month period in 21 laryngeal cancer patients, 7 in each of 3 treatment groups: total laryngectomy (group 1), hemilaryngectomy (group 2), and radiotherapy only (group 3). Assessment included Performance Status Scale for Head and Neck Cancer Patients (PSS-HN: Diet, Speech, and Eating in Public subscales) and the FACT-HN, a multidimensional QL measure.


Groups differed in patterns of performance recovery over time in expected directions. Group 1 recovered most slowly, without achieving normal functioning by 6 months; most of group 2 returned to normal functioning by 3 months; group 3 showed little overall dysfunction. There was no difference in overall QL between groups or over time. Performance status was significantly correlated with the FACT head and neck subscale and somewhat with the Physical subscale. In contrast, ability to eat and/or speak was not associated with overall QL nor with any other specific QL dimension (eg, emotional or social well-being).


Results support the sensitivity and applicability of two site-specific performance/QL measures: PSS-HN and FACT-HN. Findings also emphasize the need to employ multidimensional tools to adequately evaluate the nonmedical outcomes in head and neck patients.

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