Objectives: We performed a prospective study to evaluate, from the patient's perspective, the trade-off between speech and survival that individuals face when given a diagnosis of advanced-stage laryngeal cancer amenable to either total laryngectomy or a laryngeal preservation protocol using chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Methods: Volunteers (309) consecutively seen at the otorhinolaryngology clinic of a university teaching hospital in France completed an anonymous questionnaire designed to determine their position if they faced the diagnosis of an advanced-stage laryngeal cancer. Univariate analysis was performed for potential statistical relationships with various variables.
Results: We found that 12.9% of patients were unable to determine their position regarding the two treatment options offered, and this group had a significant statistical relationship with four variables (age, education, professional status, and history of cancer among relatives). We found that 24.6% of patients made survival their main consideration and would not consider any trade-off. Among the 62.5% who considered the trade-off, the percentage of cure that patients were ready to lose in order to preserve their larynx varied from 5% to 100% (mean, 33%; SD, 23%). Aside from the undecided group, none of the variables analyzed was related either to the decision as to whether to consider a trade-off or to the percentage of c re that patients agreed to trade to preserve their larynx.
Conclusions: In patients with advanced-stage laryngeal cancer, treatment should be initiated only after careful evaluation of the patient's attitude toward both laryngeal preservation and survival.