The quality of life (QL) of cancer patients has attracted an increasing interest in recent years. Patients with head and neck cancer often have troublesome symptoms due to the disease and to treatment side effects, which will have an impact on the patient's QL. The aim of this study was to evaluate the possibility of studying QL in relation to well-known clinical parameters.
Patient's QL was evaluated according to the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Core Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) combined with a diagnosis-specific questionnaire. Quality of life was measured in a cross section of head and neck cancer patients (n = 48) and related to nutritional status, energy intake, severity of disease, and 2-year survival.
Fifty-one percent of the patients (mean age, 67 years) fulfilled the criteria proposed for malnutrition, and 55% had a negative energy balance. We did not find any correlation between the severity of the cancer disease and the patient's self-rated QL. However, we found significantly better QL ratings among the 2-year survivors (mean, 63; range 52–76 versus mean, 42; range, 31–54; p < .05). There were few correlations between the QL items and malnutrition.
Quality of life measurements offer objective information on well-being, sometimes quite opposite that of other clinical parameters, such as tumor stage. Furthermore, QL measurements may be of prognostic value concerning the survival of head and neck cancer patients. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Head Neck20: 540–548, 1998.