Patients' Body Image Improves After Mohs Micrographic Surgery for Nonmelanoma Head and Neck Skin Cancer

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Most skin cancers occur on the head and neck, areas of the body that are significant to an individual's body image (BI) perception. Poor BI is a robust risk factor for depression and decreased quality of life. Thus, patients with nonmelanoma head and neck skin cancer (NMHNSC) may be more vulnerable to BI disturbance and the negative sequelae of poor BI.

OBJECTIVE

Describe the nature of BI concerns in patients diagnosed with NMHNSC and assess how BI changes with treatment.

METHODS AND MATERIALS

Patients undergoing Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) for NMHNSC completed assessments of BI and well-being before (N = 239) and 6 months after (N = 80) treatment with MMS. Demographic and tumor data were gathered through retrospective chart review.

RESULTS

Body image improved significantly 6 months after MMS, and the magnitude of this change was large (η2 = 0.18). Repair length (length of final scar irrespective of repair type) >4 cm predicted poorer BI at 6-month follow-up.

CONCLUSION

Patients' BI improves after treatment with MMS for NMHNSC.

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