Factors that affect quality of life for older people with head and neck cancer: A systematic review

Cherith J Semple, Gerry McKenna, Roisin Parahoo, Simon N Rogers, Ylva Tiblom Ehrsson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
37 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Quality of life is a critical aspect in the management of older head and neck cancer patients. It needs to be considered alongside survival benefit, treatment burden, and longer-term outcomes. The purpose was to undertake a systematic review of empirical peer-reviewed studies with a primary focus on factors impacting quality of life for older head and neck cancer patients. 

Methods: A systematic review, searching 5 electronic databases (PsychoINFO, MEDLINE, CINHAL, Embase, and Scopus) using PRISMA methodology was conducted. Data was appraised using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale and a narrative synthesis performed. 

Results: Only 10 papers fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Two main themes emerged: 1) Impact of head and neck cancer on quality of life domains and 2) quality of life in treatment decision-making. 

Conclusions: In an era of progressive personalised care, there is an evident need for more qualitative and quantitative studies focusing on quality of life for older head and neck cancer patients. However, older head and neck cancer patients experience notable differences, especially with poorer physical functioning and greater eating and drinking challenges. Quality of life impacts older patients decision-making, treatment planning and intensifies post-treatment support.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102280
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Early online date15 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by The Swedish Cancer Society [grant numbers 2018/502 and 2021/0371 ]; The Kamprad Family Foundation for Entrepreneurship, Research & Charity [grant numbers 20150003 ]; The P.O. Zetterling Foundation ; The Erik, Karin, Gösta Selander Foundation ; and The Geriatric Foundation, Uppsala University .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


  • Older
  • Systematic review
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Quality of life
  • Elderly


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