Objectives/Hypothesis To examine functional and quality-of-life outcomes for patients treated by reirradiation to the head and neck for recurrent or new primary cancers. Study Design Retrospective review. Methods The University of Washington Quality of Life Instrument (UW-QOL) scores were reviewed with swallow evaluations for 17 patients with biopsy-proven recurrent or new primary squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck treated with reirradiation who were clinically without evidence of disease at a minimum follow-up of 1 year. All patients had received their initial radiation therapy to a median dose of 66 Gy (range, 60-72 Gy). The median interval between radiation courses was 30 months (range, 6-132 months). The median reirradiation dose was 60 Gy (range, 54-70 Gy). Results At 1 year after reirradiation, the mean UW-QOL composite score was 67.0 (range, 22.1-83.5), which did not differ significantly from baseline (P=.57). The proportion of patients who rated their global quality of life as "very good" or "outstanding" at 1 year after reirradiation was 35%. The percentage of patients who reported their global quality of life as "good/fair" and "poor/very poor" were 59% and 6%, respectively. Conclusions The majority of survivors in this highly selected series were devoid of new impairment after reirradiation and were satisfied with their functional status. Although nearly all patients had side effects from their prior radiation course prior to reirradiation, no patient reported a decline in global quality of life from before reirradiation to 1 year post-treatment.
- head and neck cancer
- quality of life