Indexed on: 17 Nov '20Published on: 12 Sep '19Published in: International Journal of Nursing Sciences
Osteoradionecrosis of the jaws (ORNJ) is among the most serious oral complications of head and neck cancer treatment with radiation therapy. This study aimed to examine the level of symptom distress and interference of ORNJ in head and neck cancer patients in China. A cross-sectional study was conducted to profile patient reported symptom severity. Ninety-five hospitalized ORNJ patients were recruited. Participants completed the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory-Head and Neck Module-Chinese version. The percentage of participants who reported that they experienced at least one type of symptom was 97.9%, and 85.2% patients reported interference. The 10 most severe symptoms were as follows: limited mouth opening, problem with teeth/gums, difficulty swallowing/chewing, dry mouth, oral malodor, difficulty with voice/speech, dental ulcer, tinnitus/ear obstruction, skin pain/burning/rash, and difficulty hearing. The problem of limited mouth opening was more severe in patients with longer time to onset of ORNJ after radiotherapy. The interference of patients positively correlated with core symptoms ( = 0.612), head and neck symptoms ( = 0.709), and ORNJ symptoms ( = 0.440) (< 0.01). The longer time to the onset of ORNJ after radiotherapy was positively and significantly correlated with symptom distress ( = 0.479, < 0.001), and mouth opening correlated negatively with symptom distress ( = -0.298, = 0.003). ORNJ patients suffered mainly from limited mouth opening and other maxillofacial symptoms. The problem of limited mouth opening was more severe in patients with longer time to onset of ORNJ after radiotherapy. ORNJ patients commonly had symptom distress, which influenced their quality of life.