Clinical assessment of the range, severity and outcomes of Head and Neck Lymphoedema: A pilot study

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Background: Head and neck lymphoedema (HNL) following head and neck cancer (HNC) treatment can result in reduced quality of life (QoL) and functioning, often causing swallowing and communication problems, as well as discomfort and body image disturbances.
Objectives: This pilot cross-sectional study aimed to (1) identify the clinical range and severity of HNL, and (2) determine specific HNL-related QoL and functional outcomes in post-treatment HNC patients attending a tertiary hospital HNC clinic.
Methods: This study examined the range and severity of internal and external lymphedema (IL and EL). Grading of IL was completed using the Radiotherapy Edema Rating Scale and EL was evaluated using the MDACC-HNL Rating Scale. Impacts of HNL were examined using patient-reported outcome measures.
Results: Seventy-five percent (21 of 28) of participants presented with HNL; 19% had IL only, 28.6% had EL only, and 52.4% had both types. Statistically significant differences in speech scores were identified between those with HNL and those without HNL (p = .038). No other significant differences for symptoms were not identified.
Conclusions: Findings suggest possible implications of EL on speech function. Considering the progressive nature of HNL, early identification and referral to manage HNL and functional outcomes are warranted.
Period28 May 202025 Jun 2020
Event title13th Australasian Lymphology Association Conference
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionNational