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Head and neck cancer (HNC) patients experience treatment-related complications that may interfere with health-related quality of life (HRQOL). The purpose of this study was to describe the symptom experience (shoulder pain) and functional status factors that are related to global and domain-specific HRQOL at one month after HNC surgery. In this exploratory study, we examined 29 patients. The outcome variables included global HRQOL as well as physical, functional, emotional, and social well-being. Symptom experience and functional status factors were the independent variables. In the symptom experience variables, shoulder pain distress was negatively associated with physical well-being (). Among the functional status variables, eating impairment was negatively related to global HRQOL () and physical well-being (). Speaking impairment and impaired body image explained a large amount of the variance in functional well-being (). This study provided initial results regarding symptom experience and functional status factors related to poor HRQOL in the early postoperative period for HNC patients.

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Rehabilitation Research and Practice, v. 2013, art. 601768