The first aim of this study was to describe appearance issues in patients following surgery for oral and oro-pharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma using the Derriford appearance scale (DAS24) and the University of Washington Quality of Life Questionnaire Version 4 appearance item (UWQOL v4). Another aim was to compare these two questionnaires and justify a cut-off in the UWQOL. Also the study compares the cancer group to reference data and explores associations with clinical factors. 383 alive and disease free patients and treated between 1992 and 2005 were sent the survey of which 252 (66%) responded. Age (younger patients), T stage 3 and 4 and adjuvant radiotherapy were key factors in patients reporting problems with appearance. There was excellent correlation between the two questionnaires. A cut-off of less than 75 in the UWQOLv4 appearance item captured most of the problems raised in the DAS24. The cancer cohort had similar DAS24 scores to the general population sample and had more positive scores than the clinical reference group (burns etc patient). In conclusion the UWQOL appearance domain appears to be a suitable means of screening for appearance issues in this cohort and could act as a trigger for further assessment and treatment.
|Published - Oct 2008