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Impact of dysphagia on quality-of-life in nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Janet WilsonORCiD


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Background. Little is known about dysphagia or quality of life (QOL) in patients treated for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). The aim of this study was to determine the impact of dysphagia on QOL in patients treated for NPC as measured by two standard tools, the University of Washington Quality-of-Life Questionnaire(1) (UW-QOL) and the Swallow Quality-of-Life Questionnaire(3) (SWAL-QOL). Methods. This is a cross-sectional Survey of 59 consecutive disease-free survivors of NPC attending the head and neck cancer clinic at the National University Hospital, Singapore. The UW-QOL and SWAL-QOL underwent minor modification and were translated into Mandarin. A linear regression analysis was performed to identify significant predictors of health-related QOL. Results. Fifty-one patients (86%) responded; of these, 43 had self-reported swallowing difficulties. On the UW-QOL, respondents indicated the three most important issues to be swallowing (59%), hearing (45%), and saliva/dry mouth (41%). Respondents with swallowing difficulty reported a lower UW-QOL composite score (p = .002) and a lower health-related QOL score (HR-QOL) than those without swallowing difficulty (p = .004). Self-reported swallowing difficulty predicted a lower HR-QOL score (p = .004). A longer time since treatment predicted a better score in HR-QOL (p = .024). A lower score in fatigue predicted a lower HR-QOL score (p = .001). Conclusions. Swallowing difficulties negatively impact QOL. It is recommended that future QOL studies aimed specifically at swallowing function in NPC use a swallowing specific questionnaire (eg, SWAL-QOL) in addition to a head and neck-specific measure. Further research is needed to look at the adaptation and usefulness of swallowing-specific QOL surveys for use with people treated for NPC. (c) 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lovell SJ, Wong HB, Loh KS, Ngo RYS, Wilson JA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Head & Neck

Year: 2005

Volume: 27

Issue: 10

Pages: 864-872

ISSN (print): 1043-3074

ISSN (electronic): 1097-0347

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


DOI: 10.1002/hed.20250


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