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Patient-reported outcomes in head and neck cancer: prospective multi-institutional patient-reported toxicity

Authors Peach MS, Trifiletti DM, Vachani C, Arnold-Korzeniowski K, Bach C, Hampshire M, Metz JM, Hill-Kayser CE

Received 12 October 2017

Accepted for publication 12 April 2018

Published 27 July 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 245—252


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Robert Howland

M Sean Peach,1 Daniel M Trifiletti,2 Carolyn Vachani,3 Karen Arnold-Korzeniowski,3 Christina Bach,3 Margaret Hampshire,3 James M Metz,3 Christine E Hill-Kayser3

1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA; 2Department of Radiation Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, USA; 3Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Purpose: Head and neck cancer is occurring in an increasingly younger patient population, with treatment toxicity that can cause significant morbidity. Using a patient guided, Internet-based survivorship care plan program, we obtained and looked at patterns of patient-reported outcomes data from survivors seeking information after treatment for head and neck cancer.
Methods: The Internet-based OncoLife and LIVESTRONG Care Plan programs were employed, which design unique survivorship care plans based on patient-reported data. Care plans created for survivors of head and neck cancer were used in this evaluation. Demographics, treatment modality, and toxicity were included in this evaluation. Toxicity was further analyzed, grouped into system-based subsets.
Results: A total of 602 care plans were created from self-identified head and neck cancer survivors, from which patient-reported outcome data were attained. A majority of patients were Caucasian (96.2%) with median age at diagnosis of 55 years, living in suburban locations (39.9%), with ~50% receiving care within 20 miles of their residence. There was an equal distribution of education levels from high school only to graduate school. The majority of patients received care through cancer centers (96.7%), with a split between academic and non-academic centers. Ninety-three percent of patients had radiation therapy as part of their treatment modality, with 70.3% having chemotherapy and 60.1% having surgery. The most common system toxicities affected the oropharynx, followed by epithelium (skin/hair/nail), and then general global health. Specifically, the most common side effects were difficulty swallowing (61.5%) and changes in skin color/texture (49.7%). One third of patients experienced hearing/tinnitus/vertigo, xerostomia, loss of tissue flexibility, or fatigue.
Conclusion: The current work demonstrates the ability to obtain patient-reported outcomes of head and neck cancer survivors through an Internet-based survivorship care plan program. For this group dysphagia and dermatitis were the most commonly reported toxicities, as was expected; however, global effects of therapy, such as fatigue, were also significant and should be addressed in future survivorship planning.

Keywords: head and neck radiation, surgery, chemotherapy, patient reported outcomes, survivorship care plan, Internet, patient-reported outcomes

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