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Keywords:

  • head and neck cancer;
  • quality of life;
  • EORTC QLQ-C30;
  • EORTC QLQ-H&N35;
  • HADS

Abstract

Background.

A longitudinal, prospective, case-control study evaluated if a psychosocial support program improved health-related quality of life (HRQL) in head and neck (H&N) cancer patients.

Methods.

One hundred forty-four H&N cancer patients were included: 52 study patients and 92 controls. The study group met the support team repeatedly throughout the first year after diagnosis. HRQL was assessed three times during the first year and after 3 years using the EORTC QLQ-C30, EORTC QLQ-H&N35, and HADS.

Results.

A few statistically significant differences were found, all favoring the controls. Controls reported better global quality of life after 1 year and felt less ill after 3 years. Depression and treatment-related side effects were prevalent in both groups.

Conclusions.

Our psychosocial support program did not improve HRQL in H&N cancer patients. Its effectiveness may be improved by evaluating and actively integrating HRQL assessments during the program, thereby enabling rapid and adequate symptomatic treatment and/or psychologic intervention. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck 25: 576–584, 2003