METHODOLOGY: In this open labelled randomized clinical trial, 40 participants aged between 18 and 65 with head and neck cancer who completed chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy in Hospital USM, Kelantan Malaysia or Hospital Taiping were recruited and randomized into two groups: Tualang honey (experimental) group or Vitamin C (control) group. They were prescribed with either daily oral Tualang honey 20mg or vitamin C tablet 100 mg for 8 weeks. Level of fatigue and quality of life were measured using FACIT-Fatigue and FACT H&N questionnaires at baseline, 4 weeks and 8 weeks. The white cell count and C-reactive protein level were also measured at baseline, 4 weeks and 8 weeks.
RESULTS: After four and eight weeks of treatment with Tualang honey or Vitamin C, the fatigue level for experimental group was better than in the control group, and the differences were statistically significant (p<0.05). Statistically significant improvements were seen on quality of life (p<0.05) for the experimental group at week 8, however, no significant improvements were seen in white cell count and C-reactive protein level between control and experimental group.
CONCLUSION: Our research provided support for the use of Tualang honey to improve CRF and QOL in head and neck cancer patients post chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: All newly diagnosed patients with squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck (HNSCC) referred for treatment to the Oncology Unit at UMMC from 2003-2010 were retrospectively analyzed. Treatment outcomes were 5-year overall survival (OS), cause specific survival (CSS), loco-regional control (LRC) and radiotherapy (RT) related side effects. Kaplan-Meier and log rank analyses were used to determine survival outcomes, stratified according to American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) stage.
RESULTS: A total of 130 cases were analysed. Most cases (81.5%) were at late stage (AJCC III-IVB) at presentation. The 5-year OS for the whole study population was 34.4% with a median follow up of 24 months. The 5-year OS according to AJCC stage was 100%, 48.2%, 41.4% and 22.0% for stage I, II, III and IVA-B, respectively. The 5-year overall CSS and LCR were 45.4% and 55.4%, respectively. Late effects of RT were documented in 41.4% of patients. The most common late effect was xerostomia.
CONCLUSIONS: The treatment outcome of HNSCC at our centre is lagging behind those of developed nations. Efforts to increase the number of patients presenting in earlier stages, increase in the use of combined modality treatment, especially concurrent chemoradiotherapy and implementation of intensity modulated radiotherapy, may lead to better outcomes for our HNC patients.