Navigation Links
Quality of life predicts cancer survival, U-M study finds

ANN ARBOR, Mich. Head and neck cancer patients who reported lower physical quality of life were more likely to die from their disease, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. The findings could mean that identifying patients with poor quality of life could also identify patients with particularly aggressive tumors.

"Low quality of life may have value in screening patients for recurrence. By identifying patients with poor quality of life, we may also be able to identify early on those who have particularly aggressive tumors," says lead study author Carrie A. Karvonen-Gutierrez, M.P.H., research associate at the U-M School of Public Health and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

Results of the study appear in the June 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The researchers surveyed 495 people at four hospitals who had been diagnosed with head and neck cancer within the previous two years. Participants responded to questions about physical and emotional quality of life, including pain, eating and swallowing, speech and emotional well-being.

The researchers found that general physical health and quality of life issues were highly associated with survival. And in particular, patients who reported difficulty with pain, eating and speech were significantly less likely to survive. The researchers suggest that pain and declines in other physical quality of life measures could be a marker for cancer recurrence.

"Our findings validate the concept that doctors have long recognized: that persistent or increasing pain is a worrisome clinical finding. Perhaps in the future, quality of life data will be routinely collected in a standardized way, and trends in pain scores will trigger more aggressive examinations for cancer recurrence," says study author Sonia A. Duffy, Ph.D., R.N., a research scientist at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, associate professor of nursing at the U-M School of Nursing and research assistant professor of otolaryngology at the U-M Medical School.

"While patients are monitored and screened after cancer treatment, small recurrences of cancer may be difficult to detect, even with standard imaging techniques. But, for example, small islands of cancer near a nerve can cause substantial pain before the cancer is detected on routine examination or imaging scans," says study author Jeffrey Terrell, M.D., associate professor of otolaryngology at the U-M Medical School.

The next question for the researchers is to understand whether treatments that improve quality of life can improve survival.

"Although it is not yet clear how the association works between survival and quality of life related to head and neck pain, it is clearly advantageous to minimize pain for patients. And, if in doing that, the chance of cancer recurrence or patient survival is improved, the effort is worthwhile, regardless of why these factors are related. Patients want improved quality of life after cancer treatmentwhether it be to improve survival or simply to improve everyday living and feel better," Duffy says.

Based on their findings, the study authors recommend routine quality of life assessments of patients with head and neck cancer, before treatment and again after six months, one year and two years.


Contact: Nicole Fawcett
University of Michigan Health System

Related medicine news :

1. More proof needed of safety and quality of electronic personal health records
2. Pitt study finds inequality in tobacco advertising
3. Poor indoor air quality means poorer health for patients with COPD
4. Kingfisher Healthcare (KFH) Achieves World Class Quality Platform
5. Exempla Healthcare Contracts For Talismans Quality Donor System
6. Study finds primary care depression treatment often does not follow quality guidelines
7. Income inequality associated with overnourishment and undernourishment in India
8. Exercise and yoga improves quality of life in women with early-stage breast cancer
9. Patient Advocate Foundation Launches Program to Help Uninsured Virginians with Chronic, Debilitating and Life-Threatening Illness Access Quality Healthcare
10. Bridgetech Announces Addition of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality as Content Provider in its Development of a Healthcare Web Portal in China
11. 7th Annual Quality Conference: 2 Days to Lock in Discounted Rate at The Ritz-Carlton
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... “While riding the bus, I ... Bronx, N.Y. “I thought there had to be a convenient and comfortable way to ... The PROTECTOR enables disabled individuals to safely travel during cold or inclement weather. In ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... Association (PHA) announces the nation’s Periwinkle Pioneers, individuals and groups responsible for advancing ... this disease. The Periwinkle Pioneers, nominated by the public, will receive special recognition ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... An unlikely ... resulting in a way for homeless people to have a more dignified and ... new initiative whereby they are repurposing plastic bags into sleeping mats for the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Since ... providing comprehensive solutions involving adult stem cell therapies to patients with chronic degenerative ... “Regenestem” name as a Registered Trademark (RTM). , Organizations are required to hold ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... and monitoring. Their Care Plan software creates an agreement between the practice ... care plan, including financial, scheduling, monitoring, notification, and projections. Click here ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... and BERN, Switzerland , November ... ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research of the University ... Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Clinical Nutrition of the ... start of an exclusive collaboration to develop a novel ... for the personalised delivery of insulin for diabetic patients ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... FLINT, Mich. , Nov. 24, 2015 Diplomat ... , Senior Vice President of Clinical Services, Education and Human ... (AIS) online webinar, "Oral Oncology Drugs: Health Plan Strategies for ... co-presenting with Beckie Fenrick , a consultant with the ... The webinar will ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 iRhythm Technologies, Inc. , a leading ... announced that it will participate in the 27th Annual Piper Jaffray ... New York, NY . Kevin King , Chief ... 1, 2015 at 8:50am ET. --> ... . --> . --> iRhythm is ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: