Laser excision of oral cancer is well established. The aim of this cross-sectional survey was to ask patients about their main symptoms and the severity of them during the first postoperative weeks. We devised a short questionnaire in collaboration with patients, and did a cross-sectional survey of 50 consecutive patients who had laser excision of T1 and T2 oral cancers over a two-year period. The response rate was 76% (38/50). Twenty patients reported that eating was “quite a bit” or “very much of a problem” and 13 reported similar for pain. The main problems were eating (n = 27), pain (n = 16), numbness (n = 14), speech (n = 13), and swallowing (n = 12). It took 11 patients more than 4 weeks to recover, and 11 of the 20 who were employed needed to take time off work (modal duration 3 or 4 weeks). Thirteen patients sought advice postoperatively from the clinic, ward or secretary’s office, general practitioner, or accident and emergency department (or other out-of-hours service). The survey shows that morbidity associated with laser excision is relatively high, and more studies are required to provide a better evidence base that will inform improvements in postoperative recovery and care.
- LaserOral CancerPostoperative morbidity