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A pilot study on the Vanderbilt head and neck symptom survey Italian version (VHNSS-IT) to test its feasibility and utility in routine clinical practice

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Abstract

Purpose

Patient-reported outcome measures can be useful to assess symptoms in head and neck cancer (HNC) patients treated with radio-chemotherapy. This is a pilot study on the VHNSS-IT (the Italian version of the Vanderbilt head and neck symptom survey) performed to assess both the feasibility and utility of its administration in clinical practice.

Methods

The outcomes analyzed were feasibility to recruit patients, feasibility to complete the questionnaire, feasibility to review the questionnaire, utility perceived by clinicians, distribution of patient’s answers reflecting symptom’s intensity.

Results

Among the 38 patients enrolled, 37 completed the VHNSS-IT (refusal rate 2.6%). Median time of completion was 6′57″. Time of completion was influenced by age (p = 0.002), grade of education (p = 0.023) and employment status (p = 0.004). Time after the start of the radiotherapy course (< 6 months vs. > 6 months) and surgery (yes vs. no) influenced symptoms’ intensity. Median time for review was 2′15″. Time burden was perceived to be acceptable for all clinicians; they all also found the questionnaire easy to use. Rates of global perceived utility and future intention to use the questionnaire were 100%.

Conclusions

The VHNSS-IT has demonstrated to be a useful measurement of symptoms’ burden for patients with HNC. The survey can be easily completed during the clinic routine without interfering with doctors’ visits schedule, and it can help healthcare providers to identify symptoms that require referral, education or intervention.

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Author information

Correspondence to Marta Maddalo.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Maddalo, M., Buglione, M., Pasinetti, N. et al. A pilot study on the Vanderbilt head and neck symptom survey Italian version (VHNSS-IT) to test its feasibility and utility in routine clinical practice. Radiol med (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11547-019-01125-6

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Keywords

  • Head and neck cancer
  • Patient-reported outcome measure
  • Symptoms screening