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Qual Life Res. 2010 Nov;19(9):1243-54. doi: 10.1007/s11136-010-9688-3. Epub 2010 Jun 11.

Quality of life for head and neck cancer patients treated by combined modality therapy: the therapeutic benefit of technological advances in radiotherapy.

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Department of Hematology Oncology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical Center, Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.



To evaluate quality of life (QoL) in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) treated by combined modality therapy, with a focus on the therapeutic benefits of QoL that result from technological advances in radiotherapy (RT).


A cross-sectional survey of QoL using the EORTC QLQ-C30 and QLQ-H&N35 questionnaires was performed for 307 HNSCC survivors. One hundred and thirty-five patients were treated by two-dimensional RT (2DRT), 90 by three-dimensional conformal RT (3DCRT), and 82 by intensity-modulated RT (IMRT). The effect size between groups was calculated using Cohen's D coefficient.


Those who had a higher annual family income or were treated by more advanced RT techniques had better QoL outcomes. Compared with 2DRT, the impact of 3DCRT was small (Cohen's D: 0.02-0.40) on all QoL scales. For IMRT, the impact was small on most scales and moderate (Cohen's D: 0.55-0.60) on opening mouth, dry mouth, and sticky saliva. Compared with 3DCRT, the impact of IMRT was small (Cohen's D: 0.03-0.29) on all scales.


Advances in RT provided a positive effect on QoL outcome, especially on swallowing-related QoL scales, for patients with HNSCC treated by combined modality therapy.

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