To demonstrate that first-year trends in a self-reported subjective general health assessment tool can provide prognostic information and help predict long-term survival in patients with head and neck cancer.
Prospective observational cohort study.
Tertiary care center.
Four hundred three patients with head and neck cancer who were enrolled in a longitudinal outcomes project between January 1, 1995, and December 31, 2005.
Self-reported general physical health assessments were collected using the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey at diagnosis (pretreatment) and at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after diagnosis.
Main Outcome Measures
Actuarial 5-year observed (all deaths) and disease-specific (death with cancer present) survival.
Mean physical component summary (PCS) scores decreased at 3 months in all patient groups. While patients who died within the second or third year exhibited virtually no recovery, those who died within the fourth or fifth year exhibited some recovery, and those who survived 5 years or longer approached baseline PCS scores by 12 months. Shorter survival correlated with a greater net decrease in PCS score at 12 months. Groups based on pretreatment and 12-month PCS scores had significantly different survival curves. The net change in PCS score at 12 months (ΔPCS) was a predictor of both observed and disease-specific survival at univariate analysis and an independent predictor of disease-specific survival in multivariate analysis.
First-year trends in the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey PCS score, a self-reported subjective measure of general physical health, are predictive of long-term survival.