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Quality of life predicts cancer survival, U-M study finds
Date:5/29/2008

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.


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Contact: Nicole Fawcett
nfawcett@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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