Patient quality of life fluctuates before and after Mohs micrographic surgery: A longitudinal assessment of the patient experience

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Abstract

Background:

Changes in patient perceptions of quality of life (QOL) after Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) may benefit from different counseling or treatment.

Objective:

To measure QOL before and after MMS and to identify risk factors associated with impaired QOL.

Methods:

Prospective observational study of 727 patients with skin cancer who self-reported QOL via the Skin Cancer Index immediately before and at 1 to 2 weeks and 3 months after MMS.

Results:

QOL fluctuated after MMS. At 1 to 2 weeks after surgery, overall QOL remained unchanged compared with before MMS. Patients reported reduced anxiety about skin cancer but had increased distress about social interactions and physical appearance. At 3 months after surgery, patients reported an overall improvement in QOL compared with before MMS (P = .0007). Age younger than 65 years (P = .0001), female sex (P = .0001), and tobacco use (P = .03) were associated with lower QOL scores at all assessment points.

Limitations:

Single-site observational study. Significant loss to follow-up at both time points after MMS.

Conclusion:

Patients with skin cancer had persistent concerns about social interactions and physical appearance 1 to 2 weeks after MMS, but all aspects of their QOL improved by 3 months after surgery. Patients who underwent MMS that were younger than 65 years, were female, or smoked were at increased risk for longitudinally impaired QOL.

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