Priorities of human papillomavirus-associated oropharyngeal cancer patients at diagnosis and after treatment

Melina J. Windon, Carole Fakhry, Farhoud Faraji, Tanya Troy, Christine G. Gourin, Ana P. Kiess, Wayne Koch, David W. Eisele, Gypsyamber D'Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Introduction: Little is known regarding how human papillomavirus-positive oropharyngeal cancer (HPV-OPC) patient goals change with treatment. This study evaluates whether patient ranking of non-oncologic priorities relative to cure and survival shift after treatment as compared to priorities at diagnosis. Materials and Methods: This is a prospective study of HPV-OPC patient survey responses at diagnosis and after treatment. The relative importance of 12 treatment-related priorities was ranked on an ordinal scale (1 as highest). Median rank (MR) was compared using Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-rank tests. Prevalence of high concern for 11 treatment-related issues was compared using paired t-test. The effect of patient characteristics on change in priority rank and concern was evaluated using linear regression. Results: Among 37 patients, patient priorities were generally unchanged after treatment compared with at diagnosis, with cure and survival persistently ranked top priority. Having a moist mouth uniquely rose in importance after treatment. Patient characteristics largely did not affect change in priority rank. Concerns decreased after treatment, except concern regarding recurrence. Discussion: Treatment-related priorities are largely similar at diagnosis and after treatment regardless of patient characteristics. The treatment experience does not result in a shift of priorities from cure and survival to non-oncologic domains over cure and survival. The rise in importance of moist mouth implies that xerostomia may have been underappreciated as a sequelae of treatment. A decrease in most treatment-related concerns is encouraging, whereas the persistence of specific areas of concern may inform patient counseling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-15
Number of pages5
JournalOral Oncology
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Decision-making
  • HPV
  • Head and neck neoplasms
  • Oropharyngeal neoplasms
  • Patient preference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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