The Clinical Practice Adopted by Physiotherapists in Managing Head and Neck Cancer Subjects within the United Arab Emirates: A Survey

Document Type : Research Articles


Department of Physiotherapy, College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.


Background: Globally, cancer is one of the main causes of death. Nonetheless, the estimate for Middle Eastern countries is high and rising. Furthermore, there is a paucity of evidence on effective rehabilitation measures for treatment of cancer patients, particularly head and neck cancer patients. As a result, the purpose of this study is to enlist current physical therapy clinical practice adopted by physiotherapists for the assessment and treatment of patients with head and neck cancer in United Arab Emirates. Methodology: A total of 100 survey questionnaires were sent via e-mail to physical therapists across the United Arab Emirates ‘s oncology rehabilitation centers for this cross-sectional study. Physical therapists having a valid license and at least one year of experience treating patients with head and neck cancer were included in the study. The collected responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results: The total questionnaires generated a response rate of 56% of the targeted population. A percentage of 67% of the survey marked “Always or Frequently” by more than 50% of responders. Components aiming at the musculoskeletal system in both assessment and management were used more than those targeting the cardiopulmonary system. Functional capacity and Quality of Life measures were not given as much attention however 50% of responders reported using the Fatigue and Severity Scale (FSS). Mobilization was notably marked in management, especially Upper Extremity Training which was utilized by 86.4% of responders. Educational tips components all ranged around 40-60% except for Breathing Exercise which peaked at 85.7% of the responders. Discussion and Conclusion: Assessment measures predominantly focused on functional impairment measures of the upper limb, including functions related to mandible, tongue, mouth opening, and neck movement. Treatment patterns on the other hand predominantly centred on functionally related exercises as upper limb training, breathing exercises, and facial muscle exercise.


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