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Explorative study on quality of life in relation to salivary secretion rate in head and neck cancer patients treated with radiotherapy up to 2 years post treatment.

Journal article
Authors Annica Almståhl
Torgny Alstad
Bodil Fagerberg-Mohlin
Caterina Finizia
Published in International journal of dental hygiene
Volume 17
Issue 1
Pages 46-54
ISSN 1601-5037
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Odontology
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Otorhinolaryngology
Pages 46-54
Language en
Subject categories Otorhinolaryngology


The aim of this study was to analyse quality of life (QoL) pretreatment and up to 24 months post radiation therapy (RT) in patients with head and neck (H&N) cancer.Twenty-nine patients (19 men and 10 women) with a mean age of 59 ± 8 years were included. The stimulated salivary secretion was measured and the patients completed the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life questionnaires (EORTC QLQ-C30 and H&N35) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HADS) pretreatment and at 6, 12 and 24 months post RT.At all time-points after RT (6, 12, and 24 months), patients with hyposalivation (stimulated secretion rate ≤0.7 mL/min) reported clinically significant differences (> 10 points) regarding insomnia, swallowing, social eating, dry mouth, and sticky saliva. Statistically significant differences were found for emotional functioning and insomnia at 12 months (P < 0.05 for both) and for sticky saliva at both 12 and 24 months (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01). The number of clinically significant differences increased from 10 at both 6 and 12 months post-RT to 14 functioning/symptom scales and single items at the 24 months follow-up. At 24 months post RT, 21% of patients with hyposalivation had HADS scores suggesting anxiety problems compared to 7% for those with stimulated salivary secretion rates >0.7 mL/min.Patients with hyposalivation showed deterioration in health related quality of life (QoL) at 24 months compared with 12 months post RT. Most pronounced were problems with insomnia, swallowing, social eating, dry mouth, and sticky saliva.

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