Introduction: The disease course of head and neck (H&N) cancer can severely impair patients’ quality of life (QoL). In Pakistan, a South Asian lower-middle-income country (LMIC), psychosocial factors may impact QoL. We aimed to assess QoL and associated factors amongst patients with H&N cancer in Pakistan. Methods: An analytical cross-sectional study was conducted amongst adult (≥ 18 years) patients with H&N cancer who were ≥ 4 weeks post-initiation of treatment. The survey assessed QoL (European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaires), anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), and social support (Enriched Social Support Instrument). Multivariable linear regression was performed for analysis. Results: A total of 250 patients (mean age: 51.6 years) were included. The majority of patients were married (87%) and living with multigenerational/extended family households (53%). On multivariable linear regression, ongoing cancer treatment (beta coefficient: -13.93), having a tracheostomy (-10.02), and receiving adjuvant chemoradiotherapy (-8.17) were significantly associated with poorer global QoL. Additionally, poorer QoL was associated with depression (-24.37) and anxiety (-13.34). However, having more household family members was associated with better global QoL (0.34). Conclusion: The QoL of patients with H&N cancer in Pakistan is affected by both the nature of cancer treatment as well as sociocultural factors such the number of household family members. Given that poorer QoL is associated with worse mental health outcomes, there is a need to develop and implement psychosocial interventions to improve the QoL of patients with H&N cancer in Pakistan, particularly during active treatment.
- Head and neck cancer
- Low- and middle-income country
- Psychosocial factors
- Quality of life