: A Comparison of Two Quality of Life Measures in the Head and Neck Cancer Organ Preservation Population: The EORTC QOL-H&N35 and Semi-Structured Interviews

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  • Background: Surgery,followed by radiation and/or chemotherapy,has been aconventional treatment for head and neck cancer (HNC). Organ preservation, a non-surgical option, is increasingly being used to treat HNC. This treatment may influence function and consequently quality of life. Standardized questionnaires, such as the EORTC QOL-H&N35, are commonly used to measure quality of life. Qualitative tools such as semi-structured interviews (SSIs) have been less commonly used to study patient perception of outcomes. This study aimed to determine the coherence between the EORTC QOL-H&N35 and SSIs afterorgan preservation treatment. Secondary objectives included assessingpre to post treatment changes and determining if tumour location or gender influenced outcomes. Methods: Eleven HNC patients undergoing organ preservation completed the EORTC QOL-H&N35 and SSIs before and 4-6 months after treatment. The researchers developed thematic categories based on frequently occurring trends in interviews and compared them to subsections of the EORTC QOL-H&N35. Results: Each tool gave unique perspectives on outcomes. While the EORTC QOL-H&N35 provided more detail regarding function, SSIs gave a more holistic account of patient perception of outcome. Comparison of outcomes from pre to post showed worse outcomes post treatment. Site of cancer and gender had no significant impact on treatment outcomes. Conclusion: There are changes from pre to post treatment in organ preservation thus, as quality of life is often used to guide clinical practice, it is crucial to fully understand patient perception of treatment success and its impact on everyday life, through the most reliable and comprehensive measurement tools.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International