Survival of patients with palliative head and neck cancer
Background The purpose of this study was to describe patient characteristics and prognostic factors for survival in the palliative stage of patients with head and neck cancer. Methods Since November 2003, all patients with palliative head and neck cancer treated in our hospital have been recorded in a central database. In total, 262 deceased patients were included in this retrospective study. Results The reasons for palliation were inoperability, distant metastases, refusal of curative treatment, or poor condition. The mean palliative phase lasted 5.3 months for patients with squamous cell carcinomas. Involvement of a specialized nurse was significantly related with the number of admissions and place of dying. Multivariate analysis showed comorbidity and treatment to be independent predictors of survival in the palliative phase. Conclusion Comorbidity and palliative interventions are possible prognostic factors for survival. The involvement of a specialized nurse might be associated with an improved quality of life.