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.