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Quality of Life Experienced by Patients Receiving Radiation Treatment for Cancers of the Head and Neck

By Pauline M. Rose and Patsy Yates


The purpose of this descriptive study was to explore the quality of life for 58 outpatients during and after a course of radiation treatment for cancers of the head and neck. Data were collected at three time points: T1 (first week of treatment), T2 (last week of treatment), and T3 (1 month after treatment). Patients completed two measures that assessed physical, emotional, functional, and social aspects of well-being: the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy: Head and Neck (FACT—H&N) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance and post hoc t tests were performed to assess changes in quality of life over the three time points. Results indicated overall increased levels of physical and functional symptoms, head and neck specific concerns, and depression between T1 and T2. However, except for depression, there was some improvement between scores on each of these measures of physical and functional well-being between T2 and T3, although this improvement was not to the pretreatment level. The FACT subscales assessing social and emotional well-being, and the HADS subscale showed no significant changes across time. Implications of this study relate to the ongoing need for interventions to assist patients once they have completed the radiation treatment course, and to improved assessment in some areas of emotional distress

Topics: 111003 Clinical Nursing - Secondary (Acute Care), Anxiety and depression, Head and neck cancer, Quality of life (QOL), Radiation therapy
Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Year: 2001
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