C.X.SEAH1, E.W.FU1, J.Y.GAN1, H.LI1, M.Y.LIM1, E.C.HO1
Tan Tock Seng Hospital1
NPC is the most common head and neck cancer in Singapore. Prognosis of NPC has improved significantly over the years, hence survivors often suffer from long-term side effects following radiotherapy and chemotherapy which may severely affect their QOL. This study serves to investigate the QOL domains most commonly affected in NPC survivors in Singapore.
This is a prospective cross-sectional study of NPC survivors aged 21-85years, with a disease-free interval of more than 2 years. Subjects with metastatic disease were excluded. Sociodemographic, co-morbidities, cancer stage and treatment data were collected. QOL was assessed using the self-administered European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C30 and QLQ-H&N35 module questionnaires.The mean scores for global QOL, functional scales and symptom scales were calculated.
106 subjects reported a high mean global QOL score of 70.3. Overall scores for all functional scales were high, lowest for social functioning and highest for physical functioning . The most significant symptom was xerostomia, reported by 85% of subjects, where more than one-third scored this with maximum severity. Other common troubling symptoms include sticky saliva, swallowing difficulties, fatigue, coughing and financial difficulty.
NPC survivors in Singapore enjoy a considerably good QOL and are able to return to normal functioning despite experiencing long-term side effects. Common side effects of xerostomia and fatigue are prevalent but expected. Financial difficulty is common and measures can be proposed to provide aid to patients.