Prevalence of neurocognitive and perceived speech deficits in patients with head and neck cancer before treatment: Associations with demographic, behavioral, and disease-related factors


Background: Neurocognition and speech, relevant domains in head and neck cancer (HNC), may be affected pretreatment. However, the prevalence of pretreatment deficits and their possible concurrent predictors are poorly understood. Methods: Using an HNC prospective cohort (Netherlands Quality of Life and Biomedical Cohort Study, N ≥ 444) with a cross-sectional design, we investigated the estimated prevalence of pretreatment deficits and their relationship with selected demographic, behavioral, and disease-related factors. Results: Using objective assessments, rates of moderate-to-severe neurocognitive deficit ranged between 4% and 8%. From patient-reported outcomes, 6.5% of patients reported high levels of cognitive failures and 46.1% reported speech deficits. Patient-reported speech functioning was worse in larynx compared to other subsites. Other nonspeech outcomes were unrelated to any variable. Patient-reported neurocognitive and speech functioning were modestly correlated, especially in the larynx group. Conclusions: These findings indicate that a subgroup of patients with HNC shows pretreatment deficits, possibly accentuated in the case of larynx tumors.

In: Head & Neck

Rejection history:

Journal Outcome Reason
Journal of the National Cancer Institute Desk rejected not of sufficient priority to readership