Deprivation influences the incidence and outcome of patients with cancer. Health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) is an important measure of outcome but there is little on this subject and its correlation with deprivation in patients with oral and oropharyngeal cancer. Our aim was to ascertain the extent of deprivation in a cohort of patients who had operations for primary oral and oropharyngeal cancer and how deprivation affected HR-QoL in these patients during and after their treatment. A total of 278 consecutive patients who were operated on for oral and oropharyngeal cancer were included in this study. Validated measures of deprivation scores (Townsend, Carstairs, Jarman and Index of Multiple Deprivation 2000) were calculated, as well as patient-based indicators of social circumstances (marital status, smoking habit, alcohol intake). Comparison was made with the University of Washington-Quality of Life (UW-QoL) scores before and after treatment (6, 12, and 24 months).