Purpose : To describe the change of quality of life (QoL) and complications in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) after treatment. Materials and Methods : Total 288 NPC patients in two institutions were invited to participate; all the patients received radiation doses of at least 70 Gy to the nasopharynx and at least 50 Gy to the neck. Health- related QoL and complications of the patients were evaluated by the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Core Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ-C30) and the EORTC head and neck module (QLQ-H&N35) before treatment, end of treatment, and 1, 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months after treatment. The effects of time, demographic, disease-related and treatmentrelated variables to QoL and complications were analyzed by the generalized estimating equation. Results : Comparing to pre-treatment, the NPC patients had the worst global QoL and functional status after completion of radiotherapy. The global QoL status improved rapidly at 1 month post-treatment and increased steadily, however, the global functional status had a delayed effect that patient recovered until 12 months after radiotherapy. The alleviations of the major complications were quite different. Speech problem was resolved at 12 months after treatment, pain at 18 months, the problem of open mouth at 24 months, but some complications such as dry mouth, sticky saliva and difficult swallowing still persist even 24 months after treatment. Conclusion : The QoL and complications show wide variations and time dependent. Our study can aid clinical physicians in assessing the risk of complications related to treatment, and help them in providing rehabilitation, consultation and supportive care to NPC patients after completion of treatment.
- Generalized estimating equation
- Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
- Quality of life