Introduction: It is known that side effects caused by antineoplastic therapy can affect patients' quality of life (QOL). However, the long-term effects on patients' quality of life are not well known. This study aimed to evaluate patients' quality of life who underwent radiotherapy for head and neck cancer lasting more than six months compared to individuals who did not experience treatment.
Methods: Thirty-three patients who underwent treatment for cancer in the head and neck region for at least six months and sixty-six individuals without cancer matched for age and sex were given the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C30/QLQ-H & N35 questionnaires. Other pertinent information from patients was taken from the hospital chart. The Mann-Whitney nonparametric test was applied to verify the statistical significance of the difference in means between the groups, and a significance of 5% was considered.
Results: Group 1 consisted of 33 patients with a mean age of 63.42 ± 11.25 years; 81.8% were smokers; 84.8% were drinkers; the sites most affected by cancer were the palate/oropharynx and the floor of the mouth (7 cases), and the most common type was epidermoid carcinoma (78.79%). The overall quality of life was 61.62. Among group 2 patients, the average age was 64.27; 84.85% were smokers, and 65.15% were drinkers. The overall quality of life was 71.46 in group 2. There was a group of variables in which the scores of patients without cancer were statistically lower (better quality of life) than those presented by cancer patients, namely, loss of appetite, pain, swallowing, cognitive problems, speech problems, problems eating in public, sexuality, teeth, mouth opening, dry mouth, sticky saliva, nutritional supplements, feeding tube, and weight gain.
Conclusion: Patients who underwent antineoplastic treatment for more than six months had a worse overall quality of life than individuals who did not experience such treatment. These patients had worse results in the components of appetite loss, pain, swallowing, cognitive problems, speech problems, problems with public eating, sexuality, teeth, mouth opening, dry mouth, sticky saliva, nutritional supplement, feeding tube, and weight gain.
Keywords: head and neck neoplasm; oral cavity; quality of life; radiotherapy; supportive care needs.
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