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Rehabilitation Research and Practice
Volume 2013, Article ID 601768, 10 pages
Research Article

Shoulder Pain, Functional Status, and Health-Related Quality of Life after Head and Neck Cancer Surgery

1University of South Florida College of Nursing, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, MDC 22, Tampa, FL 33612, USA
2Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
3Indiana University School of Physical Education & Tourism Management, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
4Head and Neck Surgery Program, Saint Vincent Indianapolis Hospital, Indianapolis, IN 46260, USA
5Center for Ears, Nose, Throat, and Allergy, Carmel, IN 46032, USA

Received 30 April 2013; Revised 22 October 2013; Accepted 2 December 2013

Academic Editor: Maureen Simmonds

Copyright © 2013 Hsiao-Lan Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Head and neck cancer (HNC) patients experience treatment-related complications that may interfere with health-related quality of life (HRQOL). The purpose of this study was to describe the symptom experience (shoulder pain) and functional status factors that are related to global and domain-specific HRQOL at one month after HNC surgery. In this exploratory study, we examined 29 patients. The outcome variables included global HRQOL as well as physical, functional, emotional, and social well-being. Symptom experience and functional status factors were the independent variables. In the symptom experience variables, shoulder pain distress was negatively associated with physical well-being ( ). Among the functional status variables, eating impairment was negatively related to global HRQOL ( ) and physical well-being ( ). Speaking impairment and impaired body image explained a large amount of the variance in functional well-being ( ). This study provided initial results regarding symptom experience and functional status factors related to poor HRQOL in the early postoperative period for HNC patients.