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Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2004 Nov;261(10):534-40. Epub 2004 Jan 9.

Health status and voice outcome after treatment for T1a glottic carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Vrije University Medical Center, P.O. Box 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Radiotherapy as well as endoscopic laser surgery as the most widely used treatment modalities for T1a glottic carcinoma cause minor morbidity and negligible mortality and result in more or less comparable, excellent cure and larynx preservation rates. Therefore, other outcome measures such as voice-related problems and health status are important factors in the choice of treatment for T1a glottic cancer. The present study focuses on voice-related problems in the daily life of patients treated by radiotherapy or endoscopic laser surgery for T1a glottic cancer. Self ratings on health status assessed by means of COOP/WONCA health status charts and voice problems evaluated with a validated voice-specific questionnaire (the Voice Handicap Index) and overall judgment on voice quality were obtained. A total of 102 patients (56 treated by endoscopic laser surgery and 46 treated by radiotherapy) with at least 1-year follow-up were included. Response scores were high: 52 (93%) patients after endoscopic laser surgery versus 40 (87%) patients after radiation therapy completed and returned the questionnaires. A high percentage of patients reported voice problems in daily life: 58% of the patients following radiotherapy and 40% of the patients following endoscopic treatment had abnormal VHI scores. The difference between both treatment modalities proved to be significant. No significant differences were found concerning health status or overall judgment of voice quality. Moderate correlations were found between total VHI score and voice quality judgment and the COOP/WONCA social activities chart. This study reveals that treatment for T1a glottic cancer often does result in voice problems in daily life, negatively influencing patients social activities. Patients selected for endoscopic laser surgery on average report fewer voice-related problems than those who underwent radiotherapy.

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