[en] Adaptation, Physiological ; Adaptation, Psychological ; Adult ; Age Factors ; Aged ; Aged, 80 and over ; Analysis of Variance ; Belgium ; Combined Modality Therapy ; Cross-Sectional Studies ; Cultural Diversity ; Female ; Head and Neck Neoplasms/pathology/psychology/therapy ; Humans ; Laryngeal Neoplasms/pathology/psychology/therapy ; Logistic Models ; Male ; Middle Aged ; Mouth Neoplasms/pathology/psychology/therapy ; Multivariate Analysis ; Perception ; Pharyngeal Neoplasms/pathology/psychology/therapy ; Physician's Practice Patterns ; Quality of Life ; Questionnaires ; Risk Assessment ; Sex Factors ; Sickness Impact Profile ; Tongue Neoplasms/pathology/psychology/therapy
[en] BACKGROUND: Physician's perception of quality of life of patients with cancer is unclear. No reports have evaluated its influence on patient management. METHODS: Five hundred otolaryngologists completed a questionnaire regarding the quality of life of patients with head and neck cancer. RESULTS: Seventy-eight percent of responders thought that quality of life must be considered when choosing treatment, even if this meant decreased survival. Seventy-five percent thought it justified to withhold curative treatment if this would lead to impaired quality of life. Pain and breathing were the most important symptoms to consider. The perception was worse for physicians practicing in Latin culture, working in private practice, or with no personal acquaintance with a head and neck cancer victim and was better after radiotherapy than after surgery and chemotherapy. CONCLUSION: Quality of life is important for physicians and is considered as essential as survival by many physicians. The perception of patient's quality of life influences the treatment choice.