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

scores were seen thereafter, with patients on average reporting scores back to baseline by 12 months post-treatment when scored on the HNQOL-C and by 18 months post-treatment when scored on the UWQOL-S. At 12 months after treatment, however, one-third of patients continued to report a decrease in VSQ compared to baseline, with 33 percent showing lower HNQOL-C scores and 28 percent showing lower UWQOL-S scores.

In contrast, physician assessment was much less sensitive to voice and speech problems at post-treatment, with VSQ reported (grade one toxicity) by physicians in only 5 percent of patients at three months and 0 percent at either one or two years.

On further analysis, voice quality worsening (as reported by patients) was closely related to the radiation dose received by the GL (the voice box), while patient-perceived speech difficulty was related to radiation dose received by both the GL and OC. Worse patient-reported HNQOL-C scores at six months post-treatment were correlated with mean radiation dose to the GL, with 25 percent of those whose GL received less than 20 Gy; 33 percent who received >20-30 Gy; 59 percent who received >30-40 Gy; 50 percent who received >40-50 Gy; and 64 percent who received >50 Gy reporting worse scores at six months compared to pre-treatment. The association of worse HNQOL-C scores with dose to the GL persisted at the 12-month post-treatment mark, as reported by 10 percent of patients whose GL received less than 20 Gy; 32 percent receiving >20-30 Gy; 25 percent receiving >30-40 Gy; 30 percent receiving >40-50 Gy; and 63 percent receiving >50 Gy, (χ2 for trend p=0.02 at six months, p=0.011 at 12 months).

"In contrast to chronic mouth dryness and swallowing difficulties, which have been recognized for years as potential complications in patients receiving radiation therapy for cancers of the head and neck, relatively little attention has been directed to treatment-related changes in voice and speech q
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Contact: Michelle Kirkwood
michellek@astro.org
703-286-1600
American Society for Radiation Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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