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Voice, swallowing, and quality of life after management of laryngeal cancer with different treatment modalities

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Abstract

Background

Laryngeal cancer is the most common malignant tumor of the upper aerodigestive tract. Surgical treatment of advanced laryngeal cancer often requires a total laryngectomy (TL), resulting in a permanent tracheostomy and potential difficulties with a patient’s speech and communication.

Objectives

The aim of this study was to assess post-treatment voice changes, swallowing, and quality of life (QoL) of patients with carcinoma of the larynx treated with different treatment modalities.

Patients and methods

A total of 100 patients with laryngeal cancer treated with different treatment modalities were included in the present study. The primary treatment modality included TL (n = 46), partial laryngectomy (PL) (n = 7), transoral cordectomy (n = 9), radiotherapy (Rx) (n = 29), or combined treatment during the last 10 years with radiation after TL (TL and Rx, n = 9). Patients were subjected to full history taking, complete ENT examination, and assessment of: global QoL, voice, and acoustic parameters using the computerized speech lab at the outpatient clinic of Tanta University Hospitals (TUH). Evaluation of swallowing was carried out using a modified Arabic version of the QoL questionnaire called the Sydney Swallow Questionnaire. Patients having problems with swallowing were further evaluated using fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing, at the outpatient clinic of TUH. Respiratory function of the larynx was evaluated by applying a modification of St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire.

Results

Results of voice analysis showed that the best voice was evident in patients who had undergone cordectomy, followed by those who had received radiotherapy. There was no significant difference in voice characteristics between patients using voice prosthesis, esophageal voice, or electrolarynx after TL and those using these aids after PL. Worst voice as well as swallowing was seen in patients who had undergone combined TL and postoperative radiotherapy. The best results of swallowing were seen in patients who had undergone cordectomy. Patients who had undergone TL or radiotherapy alone showed similar swallowing results, but better than those who had undergone PL, especially those who had undergone supracricoid laryngectomy. Assessment of respiratory function showed best results in patients who had undergone cordectomy, followed by those who had undergone TL and radiotherapy. Poorest results were seen in patients with combined surgery and Rx, and those who had been treated with PL.

Conclusion

Our study revealed that the best significant performance results were seen in patients who had undergone transoral cordectomy, followed by patients who had received radiotherapy only. This was followed by patients who had undergone TL and PL, with no significant difference between the two groups. The worst results were seen in patients who had undergone combined surgery and radiotherapy as the primary treatment modality.

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Correspondence to Mohammed Darweesh.

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Mansour, M.M.H., Abdel-Aziz, M.F., Saafan, M.E. et al. Voice, swallowing, and quality of life after management of laryngeal cancer with different treatment modalities. Egypt J Otolaryngol 32, 37–44 (2016). https://doi.org/10.4103/1012-5574.175845

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Keywords

  • fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing
  • partial laryngectomy
  • radiotherapy
  • St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire
  • supracricoid laryngectomy
  • Sydney Swallow Questionnaire
  • Tanta University Hospitals
  • total laryngectomy
  • transoral cordectomy