Quality-of-life measurement in patients undergoing radiation therapy for head and neck cancer: a Hong Kong experience

Division of Otorhinolaryngology, Department of Surgery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.
The Journal of oncology management: the official journal of the American College of Oncology Administrators 01/2004; 13(6):13-23.
Source: PubMed


The aims of this study are (1) to establish a reliable and valid quality-of-life (QOL) questionnaire for Chinese patients with head and neck (H&N) cancer who are treated with radiation therapy and (2) to evaluate the impact of the immediate side effects of treatment on the QOL of these patients. The 39-item "Quality of Life Radiation Therapy Instrument with Head and Neck Companion Module" (QOL-RTI/H&N) was translated into Chinese. In the reliability evaluation phase (study module 1), the questionnaire was administered twice to 56 H&N cancer patients, 7 days apart, during the second and third week of radiation therapy. In the validity evaluation phase (study module 2), 138 patients completed the QOL-RTI/H&N before starting and at the end of radiation therapy. Sixty-nine of these 138 patients also completed the QOL-RTI/H&N during the second week of their radiation therapy, at the same time as completing the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Head and Neck (FACT-H&N) questionnaire. Cronbach alpha coefficients were 0.88 for the general-tool QOL-RTI and 0.90 for the H&N subscale. Test-retest reliability was satisfactory with intraclass correlation coefficients of 0.89 for the general-tool QOL-RTI and 0.75 for the H&N subscale. The instrument can discriminate between patients with stage I or II disease and those with stage III or IV disease (P < .05). Concurrent validity was established by the good agreement with the FACT-H&N (r = 0.86, P < .001). A highly significant deterioration was in the QOL from the baseline to the end of treatment (mean difference for general tool = 1.95, P < .001; mean difference for H&N subscale = 4.85, P < .001). The Chinese QOL-RTI/H&N is a reliable and valid tool for determining the QOL in H&N cancer patients receiving radiation therapy. The immediate side effects of treatment had a significantly negative impact on the patients' QOL. The impact was relatively large for the functional and treatment-site aspects.


Available from: Michael C F Tong
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    • "They reported that Cronbach's alpha values in other domains were greater than 0.7, while those of emotion and family domains were 0.58 and 0.61, respectively. Our results showed that all domains had moderate or high split-half reliability coefficients (0.43-0.77), and had high test-retest reliability coefficients (0.80-0.94), which is consistent with previous studies [15,22,24]. It was reported that test-retest reliability coefficient of the scale was 0.87 for the German version [24], and was 0.92 for the Hong Kong version [22]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To translate and validate the Chinese version of the Quality Of Life Radiation Therapy Instrument and the Head & Neck Module (QOL-RTI/H&N), a disease-specific scale to measure quality of life (QOL) for patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) who received radiotherapy. The QOL-RTI/H&N was translated and validated according to the standard process: a translation and back-translation procedure, pilot testing and a validation study. HNC patients were enrolled from the Cancer Center of Sun Yat-sen University and assessed using the QOL-RTI/H&N, QLQ-C30 and QLQ-H&N35. Reliability (internal consistency reliability, split-half reliability and test-retest reliability), validity (content validity, construct validity, criterion validity and discriminant validity), and responsiveness analysis were performed to evaluate the psychometric characteristics of the QOL-RTI/H&N. A total of 238 patients (99.2%) completed the questionnaire. Item RTI23 had 16.0% missing data. Other items had low percentages of missing data (0.4% or 0.8%) or no missing data. The average time to finish the scale was 9.8 minutes. Cronbach's alpha of the domains ranged from 0.41 to 0.77. The split-half reliability coefficients ranged from 0.43 to 0.77. All of the intra-class correlation coefficients were equal to or greater than 0.8. All of the item-own domain correlation coefficients were greater than those of the item-other domain. Confirmatory factor analysis showed that Comparative Fit Index, Normed Fit Index and Non-Normed Fit Index were equal to 1.00. Root Mean Square Error of Approximation was 0.01, with 90% CI (0.00, 0.10). The domain scores of the QOL-RTI/H&N were significantly correlated with those of the QLQ-C30 or QLQ-H&N3. All domain scores of patients in different radiotherapy stages were statistically significant (P < 0.05), apart from the speech domain. The Chinese version of the QOL-RTI/H&N is a valid, reliable and responsive scale to measure QOL in HNC patients and can be used to assess the effects of radiotherapy treatment on these patients.
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  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Quality of life (QOL) has become an increasingly important outcome measure for patient's undergoing treatment for a wide array of illnesses. QOL is a global construct that reflects a patient's general sense of well being. It is by definition multi-dimensional and reflective of the patient's point of view. Health related issues are among the many factors that may influence QOL. Since head and neck cancer (HNC) affects structures that are critical for normal functions such as speech and swallowing, and treatment may lead to deformities that adversely impact psychosocial functioning, there is particular interest in assessing QOL in this cohort of patients. In order to interpret the HN QOL literature, it is important to have an understanding of the significance and limitations of QOL assessments in the head and neck patient population as well as an appreciation for the currently available measurement tools. Unfortunately, the HNC QOL literature has many limitations including: small sample size, lack of prospective data and poor study design. None-the-less, important insights can be obtained by review of the current literature. First, it is important that QOL studies be reported in such a way as to provide clinically meaningful data to clinicians. Linking measurements with clinical benchmarks is one way to accomplish this goal. In addition, both general and HNC specific measures are needed in order to provide a comprehensive assessment of global health and tumor specific issues. In general, QOL declines immediately after therapy and returns toward baseline by 1 year. Several factors have been identified that may predict for worse QOL outcomes including: the presence of a feeding tube, co-morbid disease, tracheotomy, site and stage. Data correlating QOL with functional outcome and symptom burden fails to demonstrate a consistent relationship. This may be attributed to methodological issues in study design or the patient's ability to adapt to functional and symptom control problems. Whether routine use of QOL measures in the clinical setting is beneficial to patients has yet to be determined. Further studies are warranted as currently available instruments may not be valid for repeated clinical use.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2007 · Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over the past 10 years, quality of life (QOL) has been increasingly recognised as an important outcome parameter in head and neck cancer. Validated questionnaires have emerged and there has been an increase in the number of papers published each year. The aim of this article is to review the literature over the past five years (2000-2005 inclusive), to identify papers reporting outcomes using patient self-competed questionnaires and group these into themes. The tabulated summary allows for the areas of health related quality of life research to be identified and to explore issues that are perhaps deficit in the literature. The three authors independently searched the literature published in the English language using the ISI search engine with cross-reference using Pub Med and Ovid. The search terms were; quality of life, questionnaire, and head and neck cancer. Studies were placed in to one of five themes. There were 165 studies identified. The numbers in each theme were predictors of QOL [Hassanein KA, Musgrove BT, Bradbury E. Functional status of patients with oral cancer and its relation to style of coping, social support and psychological status. Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2001;39:340-5.], functional outcome [Klug C, Neuburg J, Glaser C, Schwarz B, Kermer C, Millesi W. Quality of life 2-10 years after combined treatment for advanced oral and oropharyngeal cancer. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2002;31:664-9.], questionnaire development [Hanna E, Sherman A, Cash D, Adams D, Vural E, Fan CY, et al. Quality of life for patients following total laryngectomy vs chemoradiation for laryngeal preservation. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2004;130:875-9.], randomised clinical trials [Kanatas AN, Rogers SN. A national survey of health-related quality of life questionnaires in head and neck oncology. Ann R Coll Surg Engl 2004;86:6-10.], and reviews [Kanatas AN, Rogers SN. A national survey of health-related quality of life questionnaires in head and neck oncology. Ann R Coll Surg Engl 2004;86:6-10.]. Although many facets of HRQOL following head and neck cancer have been explored over the last five years the paper identifies issues where research is still lacking.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2007 · Oral Oncology
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