As a first step toward developing effective strategies to control symptoms associated with head and neck cancer (HNC) and its treatment, we sought to describe the pattern of symptoms experienced before radiation therapy.Subjects completed the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory-Head and Neck Module before beginning radiation therapy.In all, 270 patients participated. Symptom severity and interference varied between treatment-naïve patients and those with prior treatment. Cluster analyses revealed that 33% of patients had high symptom burden. Symptoms most often rated moderate-to-severe were fatigue, sleep disturbance, distress, pain, and problems chewing and swallowing. Poorer performance status, higher T classification, and receipt of previous treatment correlated with higher symptom burden.A substantial proportion of patients were experiencing high symptom burden. Because few interventions currently exist for several of the most problematic symptoms, research in symptom reduction that targets the pattern of symptoms described here is greatly needed.
View details for DOI 10.1002/hed.23181
View details for Web of Science ID 000325091000030
View details for PubMedID 23169304