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Editorial Footnote
March 2000

Quality of Life in Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2000;126(3):335-336. doi:10.1001/archotol.126.3.335

In this issue, Weymuller and coworkers1 describe their experience with the prospective evaluation of quality of life (QOL) in a large group of patients with head and neck cancer. The authors focus on the value of the information gained in attempting to measure QOL in all of their patients at the time of presentation, as well as at 5 intervals following treatment. This information was prospectively gathered in a relational database, which also included demographic, site, stage, treatment, histological, reconstructive, and current disease status data. Most of their patients (77%) presented with stages III and IV disease. Ninety-eight (40%) of 245 patients had a complete data set at 2 years. The chance of achieving a complete data set for an individual patient was strongly influenced by stage at the time of presentation, with 20 (95%) of 21 patients with stage I cancer fully characterized at 2 years, while just 41 (32%)of 129 patients with stage IV cancer are fully characterized at 2 years. The data reported for the fully characterized group of 98 patients includes mean QOL score over time by TNM stage (I-IV), T stage,24 and site. The authors also give 3 examples of QOL outcomes studies done by mining this rich database to evaluate QOL results achieved with specific treatment options.

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