Example from the literature

Bjordal et al. (1994b), in a study of long-term survivors from a trial of radiotherapy for head and neck cancer, unexpectedly found that the hypofractionated patients reported slightly better QoL than those who received conventional therapy. Hypofractionated patients had slightly better EORTC QLQ-C30 mean scores for role, social and emotional function and better overall QoL (Table 1.3), and reported less fatigue. However, both groups reported high levels of symptoms 7-11 years after their radiotherapy, such as dryness in the mouth and mucus production, and high levels of psychological distress (30% being clinical "cases").

The authors concluded that clinicians need to be aware of these problems, and some patients would benefit from social support or medication. It was proposed that the GHQ-20 could facilitate the screening for patients whose psychological distress might be treated.

Table 1.3 Quality of life in head and neck cancer patients 7-11 years after curative treatment (Based on Bjordal et al., 1994b, and Bjordal and Kaasa, 1995)

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