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Patients with oropharyngeal cancer report quality of voice and speech affected post-treatment
Date:2/20/2014

Scottsdale, Ariz., February 20, 2014Oropharyngeal cancer patients treated with combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy reported a decrease in their voice and speech quality (VSQ) for up to one year after the completion of treatment, according to research presented today at the 2014 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium. The study further shows that limiting the dose of radiation to the glottic larynx (GL) to less than 20 Gy resulted in a decrease in post-treatment VSQ problems, and that patient-reported VSQ indicated more adverse effects from treatment compared to independent physician assessment.

The research evaluated the VSQ of 91 patients with stage III/IV oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) at the University of Michigan. The patients were treated from 2003-2011 on two prospective studies of definitive concurrent chemotherapy and radiation therapy (CRT), using advanced intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) techniques intended to minimize the radiation dose to the pharyngeal constrictors, salivary glands, oral cavity (OC, the inside region of the mouth), GL, supraglottic larynx and esophagus.

Patients' voice and speech problems were evaluated and reported independently by patients and their physicians. Patient-reported VSQ was assessed using the communication domain of the University of Michigan's Head and Neck Quality of Life (HNQOL-C) questionnaire and the single speech question on the University of Washington Quality of Life (UWQOL-S) questionnaire. Patients completed questionnaires prior to treatment, and one, three, six, 12, 18 and 24 months after CRT. Factors associated with worsening patient-reported VSQ were assessed and were defined as a decrease in HNQOL-C or UWQOL-S scores from the patients' baseline evaluations.

A maximum decrease in VSQ was reported at one month post-treatment, with 68 percent of patients reporting worsening HNQOL-C scores and 41 percent reporting lower UWQOL-S scores. Improvements to the
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Contact: Michelle Kirkwood
michellek@astro.org
703-286-1600
American Society for Radiation Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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