Priorities of human papillomavirus-associated oropharyngeal cancer patients at diagnosis and after treatment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Little is known regarding how human papillomavirus-positive oropharyngeal cancer (HPV-OPC) patient goals change with treatment. This study evaluates whether patient ranking of non-oncologic priorities relative to cure and survival shift after treatment as compared to priorities at diagnosis. Materials and Methods: This is a prospective study of HPV-OPC patient survey responses at diagnosis and after treatment. The relative importance of 12 treatment-related priorities was ranked on an ordinal scale (1 as highest). Median rank (MR) was compared using Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-rank tests. Prevalence of high concern for 11 treatment-related issues was compared using paired t-test. The effect of patient characteristics on change in priority rank and concern was evaluated using linear regression. Results: Among 37 patients, patient priorities were generally unchanged after treatment compared with at diagnosis, with cure and survival persistently ranked top priority. Having a moist mouth uniquely rose in importance after treatment. Patient characteristics largely did not affect change in priority rank. Concerns decreased after treatment, except concern regarding recurrence. Discussion: Treatment-related priorities are largely similar at diagnosis and after treatment regardless of patient characteristics. The treatment experience does not result in a shift of priorities from cure and survival to non-oncologic domains over cure and survival. The rise in importance of moist mouth implies that xerostomia may have been underappreciated as a sequelae of treatment. A decrease in most treatment-related concerns is encouraging, whereas the persistence of specific areas of concern may inform patient counseling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-15
Number of pages5
JournalOral Oncology
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Decision-making
  • HPV
  • Head and neck neoplasms
  • Oropharyngeal neoplasms
  • Patient preference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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