Development of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy (CIN), hearing loss, and/or tinnitus, in cancer survivors may be predictive of increased risk of severe symptom burdens and reduced quality of life (QoL), according to a study published in the European Journal of Oncology Nursing.
All three conditions, CIN, hearing loss and tinnitus significantly detracts from patient QoL in numerous ways, including a decrease in physical function, sleep disorders, and significant psychological distress. Recent studies have assessed the impact of hearing loss and tinnitus, and investigators hypothesized that survivors who develop more neurotoxicities have worse outcomes.
Hearing Loss and Tinnitus May Signal Poor Outcomes
In a study of cancer survivor outcomes, published in the European Journal of Oncology Nursing, researchers recruited 754 cancer survivors with chemotherapy-induced neuropathy (CIN) and requested that they complete a self-reported questionnaire that collected information on factors such as QoL, demographic, clinical, and pain characteristics, and also symptoms of CIN such as sensation, balance, perceived stress, and symptom burden. Of the 371 evaluable patients, 217 patients had CIN only, 69 patients had CIN and hearing loss, and 85 patients had CIN, hearing loss and tinnitus.
When all three conditions were present in an individual not only were the associated physical symptoms worse (that is, pain, loss of protective sensation, and balance), but those survivors also had increased anxiety, depression, and poorer QoL.
Significantly worse outcomes were associated with having CIN, hearing loss and tinnitus or CIN & tinnitus compared with CIN only on some outcome measures such as longer duration of CIN, and worse self-reported balance problems. In addition, individuals who had all three conditions (CIN, hearing loss and tinnitus) were also less likely to report child care responsibilities and were less likely to be female.
The authors are currently following up on these findings by conducting studies with larger sample sizes, as well as investigating the other conditions, such as the risk of falling and cognitive function in cancer survivors.