Head and Neck Cancer Survivors

Principal investigator(s)
Susanne Singer
University of Mainz
Mainz, Germany
, Grégoire Vincent
Brussels, Belgium
Project coordinator(s)
Kathy Taylor
Mainz, Germany

Project summary

This project investigates:

  • Which aspects of QoL are reduced or improved in the long-term, compared to reference data from head and neck cancer patients pre-treatment and 1 year after treatment and compared to the age- and sex-matched general population.
  • The long-term problems with swallowing, speech, senses, dry mouth, sticky saliva, coughing, and toxicity in survivors who received surgery alone vs. radiotherapy alone vs. surgery plus adjuvant therapy vs. multimodal treatment without surgery (different types of radiotherapy, e.g., IMRT vs. conventional therapy, and surgery will be taken into account).

The societal impact of long-term toxicity on supportive care needs, employment, health care use and related costs.

Achievements

We have translated the non-EORCT questionnaires included in the study where necessary to be able to carry out pilot testing in Germany. Forms filled out by physicians and dentists have been reworked and pilot tested. The non-EORCT questionnaires have been pilot tested.

Future plans

Final aspects of the study protocol will be discussed at the spring QoL Group  meeting. Patient enrollment should begin this year.

For patients

We are looking at what kinds of problems people who have survived more than 5 years after a head/neck cancer diagnosis have that are related to their disease or treatment. These problems are divided into: a medical perspective, for example, trouble swallowing, pain, and trouble with nerves or dental health; and a quality of life perspective, such as problems being in social situations, feeling tired or depressed, being able to pursue leisure activities and accessing any necessary support services. A comparison will be made to head/neck cancer patients pre-treatment and 1 year after diagnosis and to a representative selection of the general population.