Quality of life and functional status of terminally ill head and neck cancer patients: a nation-wide, prospective observational study at tertiary cancer centers in Japan
We have clarified the quality of life during the last month of head and neck cancer patients. Of the functional status examined, feeding tube type could have the most impact on quality of life. Background Little is known about quality of life and functional status of patients with terminally ill head and neck cancers. Methods We conducted a multicenter, prospective, observational study to examine quality of life and functional status in terminally ill head and neck cancer patients. Results Of the 100 patients meeting inclusion criteria, 72 were observed until death. There was no significant difference in the quality of life score between baseline and Week 3. Forty patients (54.9%) could speak and 22 patients (30.5%) could have oral intake upon study entry. Fifty-three patients (74.6%) received enteral nutrition. Twenty-six patients (36.6%) required dressing changes for fungating tumors. The route of nutritional intake (nasogastric tube vs. percutaneous gastric tube) might be predictive for the duration of hospital stay (64 vs. 21 days, P = 0.0372). Conclusion There was no significant relationship between quality of life and functional status seen in this study. Feeding tube type could have the most impact on quality of life.
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