Health outcome priorities in older patients with head and neck cancer

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Abstract

Objectives: Older patients with head and neck cancer often have comorbidity, have reduced life-expectancy and await intensive treatment. For the decision-making process, knowledge of a patient's health outcome prioritization is of paramount importance. We aim to study the health outcome priorities of older patients with head and neck cancer, and to evaluate whether general health, markers of physical, cognitive, and social functioning, and quality of life are associated with health outcome prioritization. Materials and Methods: Patients aged ≥70 years with head and neck cancer received a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment and their priorities were assessed using the Outcome Prioritization Tool (OPT). Distribution of first priority, and associations with general health, markers of physical, cognitive, and social functioning, and quality of life were evaluated using ANOVA or chi-square. Results: Of the 201 included patients, the OPT was available in 170 patients. The majority prioritized maintaining independence (n = 91, 53.3%), followed by extending life (n = 58, 34.1%), reducing pain (n = 14, 8.2%), and reducing other symptoms (n = 7, 4.1%). Housing situation, Body Mass Index, presence of musculoskeletal diseases, and quality of life were significantly related to prioritization of health outcomes. Reducing pain or other symptoms was more often prioritized by patients who lived alone, had a history of musculoskeletal problems, or had poor perceived quality of life. Age, sex, comorbidity, and markers of physical and cognitive functioning were not associated with health prioritization. Conclusion: Maintaining independence is most often prioritized by older patients with head and neck cancer. In addition, we found that health outcome priorities of older patients are only limited based on general and specific health characteristics. We suggest to systematically discuss patients' priorities in order to facilitate complex treatment decisions in older patients with cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)698-705
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Geriatric Oncology
Volume13
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank all volunteers from the departments of Otorhinolaryngology and Oral and Maxillofacial surgery, and nurse consultants, former research students, and residents of the Division of Geriatrics at the Erasmus MC University Medical Center for their contribution to the study database.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors

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