Psychological aspects affect quality of life in patients with oral squamous cell carcinomas

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Quality of life (QoL) in head and neck cancer patients has been of increasing interest for some years. Unfortunately, only poor data exist regarding the impact of professional psychological support on QoL.


The purpose of this study was to investigate psychological aspects of QoL as well as the potential need for additional psychological treatment.

Material and methods

A total collective of 1761 patients from 38 hospitals yielding 1652 patients' questionnaires containing 147 items was evaluated. QoL, impairments and psychological and surgical treatment were evaluated.


Most patients had no psychological interview, and the majority of those who had an interview did not even want one. However, 17% of those patients who did not receive an interview wished to have one. When a psychological interview was performed, most patients (77.5%) evaluated this as helpful. Patients who wished to have a psychological interview but did not receive one showed a significantly worse QoL than those patients without a wish for such an interview. Moreover, having an interview, which does not meet the needs of the patients, diminishes QoL compared with not having an interview.


Taken together, these findings emphasise the impact of psychological treatment at least on a significant number of head and neck cancer patients. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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