Structured review of papers reporting specific functions in patients with cancer of the head and neck: 2006 - 2013

Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2016 Jul;54(6):e45-51. doi: 10.1016/j.bjoms.2016.02.012. Epub 2016 Feb 26.


Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) focuses on 4 core domains: physical and psychological function, social interaction, disease, and treatment-related symptoms, and is a key outcome in patients with cancer of the head and neck. We reviewed papers published between 2006 and 2013 that used validated questionnaires to report functional outcome in this group. A total of 572 papers were identified and 118 of them concerned function. Specific outcomes included anxiety, chewing, maxillectomy, mucositis, pain, shoulder function, and trismus. The specific functions most often identified were xerostomia, speech or voice, and swallowing or dysphagia. A considerable body of evidence has now accumulated on HRQoL and functional outomes although the precise role of HRQoL during the planning of treatment remains controversial. Over time, the emphasis of the studies included has tended to move away from the reporting of outcomes in general to more hypothesis-driven and group-specific work.

Keywords: Head and neck cancer; Quality of life; Questionnaires; Review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Deglutition Disorders
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms*
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Xerostomia