Assessment of Quality of Life in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer

Head and Neck Cancer

Klin Onkol. 2020 Spring;33(3):195-200. doi: 10.14735/amko2020195.


BACKGROUND: With the improvement of the results of oncological treatment, the concept of Quality of Life (QoL) has become increasingly important. Quantitative expression of the length of survival does not provide complete information on all advantages and disadvantages of the applied treatment. Hence, natural societal inquiry arises to answer the question what is QoL that such treatment option brings to the patient. With equivalent effi cacy of diff erent treatment modalities, the expected QoL

after treatment might be the most important factor infl uencing the patients decision for a particular type of treatment. Questionnaires are the basic tools on quantifying QoL. Over the last decades, the development of questionnaire tools has undergone a signifi cant process of evolution and nowadays, many diff erent validated measures are available to assess the physical, functional, emotional, and social impact of cancer and its treatment on patients life. In head and neck cancer treatment, the assessment of QoL outcomes is especially important for patients and healthcare workers because of the potential negative impact of the treatment on important functions such as speech, swallowing, communication and social relationships.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this article is to provide an up-to-date overview of validated questionnaire tools used in clinical practice with emphasis on potential future improvement in their design and clinical utility. The article defi nes the concept of QoL itself and currently available forms of its evaluation. Furthermore, the types of individual questionnaire tools are discussed within the text with practical and clearly arranged examples of world-famous validated scales evaluating specifi c items that represent the focus of research interest.