Background: Head and neck cancers (HNCs) and related surgical management are associated with significant physical, emotional and psychosocial impacts. Patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) are increasingly used to assess patients’ quality of life (QOL). In Australia, there is limited data on the use of PROMs in assessing outcomes of patients with HNCs, and the feasibility of implementing these tools. The FACE-Q Head and Neck Cancer Module (FACE-Q) is a newly validated PROM for patients undergoing HNC reconstructive surgery. The aim of this study is to use FACE-Q to assess PROMs before and after HNC surgery, and to assess the feasibility of implementing this tool in a tertiary HNC referral centre.
Method: In this prospective cohort study, 10 English speaking participants over 18-years-old undergoing HNC reconstructive surgery completed FACE-Q pre-operatively surgery and 3-months post-operatively. Changes in FACE-Q scores were evaluated for outcomes in appearance, function, and psychosocial domains.
Results: Participants reported an extremely broad range of responses from 0 (worst) to 100 (best) in all symptom distress domains. For participants who underwent intra-oral reconstruction, significant symptom related distress was seen in eating (p=0.007) and speaking (p=0.02). Significantly worse post-operative scores were noted for salivation (p=0.033) and smiling (p=0.028) in participants who had undergone radiotherapy.
Discussion/Conclusion: FACE-Q is able to be easily implemented alongside standard clinical care to help objectively review outcomes post HNC reconstructive surgery. This provides information regarding patients’ post-operative concerns and recovery, thereby allowing for additional input to be directed to areas of patient concern.