Effects of voice rehabilitation on health-related quality of life, communication and voice in laryngeal cancer patients treated with radiotherapy: A randomised controlled trial

Objective. This study aims to assess the effect of voice rehabilitation on health-related quality of life (HRQL) and communication experience for laryngeal cancer patients treated with radiotherapy.

Method. This prospective randomised controlled trial included 74 patients with Tis-T4 laryngeal cancer treated curatively by radiotherapy, of which 37 constituted the intervention group receiving voice rehabilitation and 37 patients as a control group. Patients were followed at one and six months post-radiotherapy, with voice rehabilitation conducted between these time-points. Endpoints included patient reported outcomes, including HRQL as measured by European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Core30 (C30) and Head & Neck35 (H&N35) as well as communication function as measured by Swedish Self-Evaluation of Communication Experiences after Laryngeal cancer (S-SECEL).

Results. The intervention group reported statistically significant improvements in communication experience as measured by S-SECEL environmental, attitudinal and total score domains compared to the control group. Similar improvements were seen in EORTC H&N35 Speech domain and the EORTC C30 domain Global quality of life. Moderate correlations were noted (r = 0.51–0.59) between three of four S-SECEL domains and the EORTC domains Speech and Global quality of life.

Conclusion. Laryngeal cancer patients treated with radiotherapy who receive voice rehabilitation appear to experience beneficial effects on communication function and selected HRQL domains. Voice rehabilitation following radiotherapy is recommended but further research investigating potential target groups and long-term effects is required.