Background: Treatment for head and neck cancer, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, can impact quality of life. Design: Patients seen at an academic institution and treated for oral cavity and oropharyngeal carcinoma were asked to participate. The standardized University of Michigan Head and Neck Specific Quality of Life questionnaire was distributed. Results: Eighty-seven patients completed the questionnaire. The majority had squamous cell carcinoma (94%), stage III or IV disease (53%), and a history of tobacco or alcohol dependence (59%), and were male (62%). Eighteen percent had free-tissue transfer (fibula free flap in 8% and radial forearm free flap in 10%). Predictors of worse quality of life included advanced stage, gastrostomy-tube dependence, complication, or recurrence. Conclusion: Stage, gastrostomy-tube dependence, complication, recurrence, and treatment modality influence quality of life. A better understanding of the impact of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer treatment on quality of life will enable us to better advise our patients.
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