An investigation of the prevalence of swallowing difficulties and impact on quality of life in patients with advanced lung cancer.
O' Brien, M
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Background Dysphagia can occur in advanced lung cancer due to direct tumour invasion or nerve compression. Anti-cancer treatments and co-morbid conditions may also cause or compound dysphagic symptoms. Speech and language therapy (SLT), medical and surgical interventions are available to address dysphagic symptoms in patients with lung cancer, however, management options are not described in national guidelines. Given the potentially short prognoses for patients with lung cancer, the aim of care should be to reduce symptom burden and maximise quality of life (QOL). Central to that aim is the identification and treatment of swallowing difficulties.Purpose This study sought to identify the prevalence and impact of dysphagia on QOL in patients with advanced lung cancer.Methods A single-site, prospective, exploratory study was undertaken. Previously validated patient-reported outcome measures of swallowing were used to identify the presence and impact of dysphagia on QOL: EAT-10 assessment and the SWAL-QOL assessment.Results Seventy-two participants were recruited with 18.1% identified as having dysphagia on completion of the EAT-10 assessment. On further evaluation using the SWAL-QOL, compromised quality of life was noted with increased fatigue and meal time duration, difficulties with food selection and reduced eating desire. Frequent throat clearing, coughing and perceived pharyngeal stasis were reported.Conclusions Dysphagia is a potential symptom in advanced lung cancer which may impact QOL. Patients, carers and healthcare professionals should be aware of this so that early referral to SLT can be expedited. More robust prevalence and interventional studies are required to inform optimal management of this distressing condition.
Quality of Life
Aged, 80 and over
Surveys and Questionnaires
Patient Reported Outcome Measures
Treatment of thoracic tumours
License start date
Supportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, 2018, 26 (2), pp. 515 - 519