Effect of oral tumour size on quality of life judgements by health care professionals working with head and neck cancer patients: a pilot study

Reid, K.; Hicks, C.; Herron-Marx, S. and Parmar, S. (2009). Effect of oral tumour size on quality of life judgements by health care professionals working with head and neck cancer patients: a pilot study. Journal of Laryngology & Otology, 123(12) pp. 1352–1357.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/s0022215109990934

Abstract

Aim: To investigate whether information about the size of an oral tumour influences the multi-disciplinary team’s judgement about the quality of life of head and neck cancer patients.

Method: Using a between-group design, two groups of health care professionals rated a hypothetical patient on 20 outcome variables. The patient description was identical for both groups, except for the tumour size.

Results: Comparison of variable ratings revealed only three significant differences between the groups’ predictions and no consistency within conditions, suggesting that the participants held few common assumptions about the impact of tumour size on a range of patient experiences.

Conclusion: The lack of agreement amongst the health care professionals suggests that, where humane judgements are used in treatment decisions for head and neck cancer patients, these may be random and inconsistent. Consequently, patients should have a direct input into treatment decisions, via formalised quality of life data.

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