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Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2006 Oct;35(10):913-9. Epub 2006 Sep 27.

Patients' perceived health status following primary surgery for oral and oropharyngeal cancer.

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Regional Maxillofacial Unit, University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool, UK.


How oral and oropharyngeal cancer patients view their 'quality of life' is of fundamental importance. Any differences seen in their health state compared with normative data and with other disease conditions allows a wider perspective on their outcome after surgery. A cross-sectional postal survey was undertaken of patients treated for oral/oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma by primary surgery using the University of Washington Quality of Life Questionnaire Version 4 (UW-QOL v4) and the EuroQol EQ-5D. Of 348 patients surveyed, 224 returned analysable forms, (response rate 64%). In the EQ-5D items, 40% of the group reported a problem in walking, 23% with self-care, 44% in performing usual activities, 50% with pain or discomfort and 33% with anxiety or depression. The mean overall health visual analogue scale (VAS) score was 74 (SE 1) minimum 30 and maximum 100. The mean utility (health index) score was 0.75 (SE 0.02) minimum -0.18 and maximum 1.0. Compared to national reference data, patients in our cohort of under 60 years of age fared significantly worse than expected for their age but this was not so for older patients. There were strong correlations between appropriate domains of the EQ-5D and UW-QOLv4 and between UW-QOL global measures and EQ-5D VAS.

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