Quality of life following resection, free flap reconstruction and postoperative external beam radiotherapy for squamous cell carcinoma of the base of tongue.
Winter SCA., Cassell O., Corbridge RJ., Goodacre T., Cox GJ.
This study was conducted to evaluate quality of life in a cohort of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue base, treated with primary surgery, reconstruction and postoperative radiotherapy. Twelve patients were assessed in a cross-sectional study using the University of Washington Quality of Life Instrument (UW-QOL). All patients underwent external beam irradiation following primary resection of their tumour and reconstruction. Patients on average reported their overall and health related QOL to be good. Functionally they had good pain control, speech intelligibility, activity and recreational levels. There were some limitations in chewing, swallowing and taste. The results suggest that surgical resection can offer good functional and overall QOL results for advanced tumours when combined with reconstruction. The morbidity associated with postoperative radiotherapy includes reduced swallowing, taste, saliva production and difficulty chewing.