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Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2007 Feb;11(1):36-42. Epub 2007 Jan 26.

Oral mucositis and quality of life of Hong Kong Chinese patients with cancer therapy.

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The Nethersole School of Nursing, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Room 732, Esther Lee Building, Chung Chi College, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong.


Oral mucositis associated with cancer therapy often has devastating impact on patients' quality of life (QoL), affecting multiple spheres of daily and psychosocial functioning. This descriptive cross-sectional study aimed at describing the severity and distress of oral mucositis, as well as QoL of Hong Kong Chinese patients treated with cancer therapy, and identifying the extent to which oral mucositis correlated with QoL. A convenience sample of 38 in-patients and 50 out-patients with solid tumors and during the peak phase of oral mucositis was recruited. The severity and distress of oral mucositis were assessed by a 4-point rating scale ranging from 1 (mild) to 4 (very severe) and 5-point rating scale ranging from 0 (not at all) to 4 (very much), respectively. The QoL was assessed by the Chinese version Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General questionnaires (Ch-FACT-G). The mean+/-SD severity and distress scores of oral mucositis were 2.1+/-0.9 and 1.6+/-1.2, respectively. The total mean+/-SD scores of physical, social/family, emotional, and functional subscales of the Ch-FACT-G were 15.1+/-5.9, 16.3+/-4.1, 15.7+/-4.5, and 11.9+/-6.8 separately. The physical subscale of the Ch-FACT-G significantly correlated with the severity (r=0.305, P<0.01) and the distress (r=0.355, P<0.01) of oral mucositis. A significantly mild positive correlation was also found between the emotional subscale of the Ch-FACT-G and the severity of oral mucositis (r=0.314, P<0.01). Subjects receiving radiotherapy reported a lower range of total social/family, emotional, and functional subscale scores than that of those receiving chemotherapy or chemo-radiotherapy, but these differences were not statistically significant (P>0.05). In conclusion, QoL, especially the functional sphere, was compromised for patients with oral mucositis. The data also support the correlations between oral mucositis and the physical sphere of QoL, as well as oral mucositis and the emotional sphere of QoL.

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