COSMIN database

A structured review of quality of life instruments for head and neck cancer patients

Ringash, J. and Bezjak, A.
BACKGROUND: Quality of life (QOL) is an important treatment outcome for head and neck cancer. Our purpose was to critically review published disease-specific QOL instruments.

METHODS: Medline and Cancerlit were searched from 1966-1999. Eight disease-specific QOL instruments were identified, described, and appraised for development, sensibility, reliability, validity and responsiveness to change.

RESULTS: Several of the available instruments have been well-developed and characterized. No one instrument is ideal for all purposes. When selecting a disease-specific QOL instrument for head and neck cancer patients, careful consideration must be given to disease subsite, treatment, timing of assessment, clinical setting, study purpose and research question.

CONCLUSION: Validation of QOL instruments is an ongoing process. Direct comparisons of different instruments may help to establish the most appropriate questionnaire for each situation. Efforts should be focused on the evaluation of existing instruments, rather than the development of new questionnaires.
Head Neck
1043-3074 (Print)
Publication year:
Overall quality of life:
Overall quality of life
Adults (18-65)
Seniors (65+)
Diseases of and symptoms related to the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue
Neoplasms and related symptoms
PRO / non-PRO:
Non-patient Reported Outcome
Patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
1 - Questionnaires
2 - Interviews
6 - Clinical rating scales
EORTC QLQ-C30 - European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaires Core-30 item (versions: EORTC QLQ-C24)   
EORTC QLQ-H&N35 - European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaires Head & Neck 35
FACT-H&N - Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Head and Neck
HNQOL - University of Michigan Head and Neck Quality of Life Questionnaire
HNRQ - Head and Neck Radiotherapy Questionnaire
QL-H&N - Quality of Life Instrument for Head and Neck Cancer
QLQ - Quality of Life Questionnaire for Advanced Head and Neck Cancer
QOL-RTI-H&N - Quality of Life Radiation Therapy Instrument-Head and Neck (QOL-RTI - Quality of Life Radiation Therapy Index)
UWQOL - University of Washington Quality-of-life Instrument (alias: UW QOL) (versions: UWQOL-V4; UWQOL-r - revised form)