The generalists’ perception of quality of life in head and neck cancer


C.H.U. Sart-Timan, Oto-rhynolaryngology, Head and neck surgery department, Domaine Universitaire du Sart-Tilman, Bâtiment B 35, 4000 Liège 1, Belgium

B-ENT 2015; 11: 163-171
Read: 537 Downloads: 365 Published: 04 February 2020

The generalists’ perception of quality of life in head and neck cancer. Objective: Patients with head and neck cancer are willing to undergo aggressive treatments and accept alterations in quality of life to attain recovery or to prolong their life. It is unclear how physicians perceive alterations in quality of life. This study examined whether physicians considered changes in quality of life when selecting a treatment for head and neck cancer.

Methodology: A large, Belgian, general practitioner population received a questionnaire in the mail requesting their opinions on quality of life for patients with cancer. They assessed the impacts of symptoms, treatments, and side effects.

Results: 506 responses were received and evaluated. A majority of physicians (85.7%) thought that quality of life must be considered when selecting a treatment, even when it represented lower chance of survival. Moreover, 82.4% felt that proposing no treatment was justified when treatment caused impaired quality of life. Most physicians thought that the quality of life was worse for patients with cancer in the head and neck than for patients with cancer in any other location. Moreover, most physicians thought that the patient (98.2%) and the family doctor (89%) should participate in selecting the treatment. The symptoms that ranked highest for impacting quality of life were pain and breathing quality, followed by feeding requirements, voice quality, and physical appearance. Radiotherapy was thought to offer the best quality of life.

Conclusion: Physicians considered quality of life a very important factor in treating patients with head and neck cancer. This medical perception strongly influences the choice of treatment.

EISSN 2684-4907