Geriatric oncology: comparing health related quality of life in head and neck cancer patients

Augusta P. Silveira, Joaquim Gonçalves, Teresa Sequeira, Cláudia Ribeiro, Carlos Lopes, Eurico Monteiro, Francisco L. Pimentel

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Population ageing is increasing the number of people annually diagnosed with cancer worldwide, once most types of tumours are age-dependent. High-quality healthcare in geriatric oncology requires a multimodal approach and should take into account stratified patient outcomes based on factors other than chronological age in order to develop interventions able to optimize oncology care. This study aims to evaluate the Health Related Quality of Life in head and neck cancer patients and compare the scores in geriatric and younger patients. Methods. Two hundred and eighty nine head and neck cancer patients from the Oncology Portuguese Institute participated in the Health Related Quality of Life assessment. Two patient groups were considered: the geriatric ( 65 years old, n = 115) and the younger (45-60 years old, n= 174). The EORTC QLQ-C30 and EORTC QLQ-H&N35 questionnaires were used. Results: Head and neck cancer patients were mostly males, 77.4% within geriatric group and 91.4% among younger patients group. The most frequent tumour locations were similar in both groups: larynx, oral cavity and oropharynx - base of the tongue. At the time of diagnosis, most of younger male patients were at disease stage III/IV (55.9%) whereas the majority of younger female patients were at disease stage I/II (83.4%). The geriatric patient distribution was found to be similar in any of the four disease stages and no gender differences were observed. We found that age (geriatrics scored generally worse), gender (females scored generally worse), and tumour site (larynx tumours denounce more significant problems between age groups) clearly influences Health Related Quality of Life perceptions. Conclusions: Geriatric oncology assessments signalize age-independent indicators that might guide oncologic geriatric care optimization. Decision-making in geriatric oncology must be based on tumour characteristics and chronological age but also on performance status evaluation, co-morbidity, and patient reported outcomes assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Number of pages8
JournalHead and Neck Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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