Patients' perspective on the impact of sentinel node biopsy in oral cancer treatment

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Objective.Assessment of the impact of a sentinel node biopsy (SNB)–based strategy in cT1/T2 N0 oral cancer on the course of health related quality of life, psychological distress, and shoulder disability, and evaluation of the patients' perspective on neck management strategies.Study Design.Fifty-two patients (39 SNB negative; 13 SNB positive) completed the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) questionnaires—QLQ-C30 and QLQ-H&N35, and the HADS, IES, and SDQ questionnaires at baseline, after SNB diagnosis and at 6 months of follow-up. Objective shoulder measurements were performed after 2 years and interviews were conducted after 4.5 months of follow-up.Results.All the scores of the questionnaires were not significantly different between SNB negative and SNB positive patients. Objective shoulder functioning was similar. Most patients preferred a SNB-based strategy to an elective neck dissection strategy.Conclusions.The impact of a SNB-based strategy in patients with cT1/T2 N0 oral cancer is comparable for SNB-negative and SNB-positive patients in terms of health-related quality of life, psychological distress and shoulder functioning. Most patients preferred the SNB-based strategy over the elective neck dissection strategy.

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