The purpose of this study was to investigate which illness perceptions of patients recently diagnosed with head and neck cancer explain variance in their quality of life (QOL) to identify potential targets for interventions aimed at improving QOL.
Sixty-eight patients (mainly with stage III and IV disease) completed the Illness Perception Questionnaire-Revised (IPQ-R) and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ-C30).
Pretreatment cross-sectional results from this prospective study show that, after controlling for age and comorbidity, illness perceptions were significantly related to the QLQ-C30 physical, role, emotional, cognitive, social functioning, and global health subscales. Patients with increased attention to symptoms, who believed in a greater likelihood of recurrence, who were more likely to engage in self-blame, and who had a stronger emotional reaction to the illness had lower QOL scores.
Our results suggest that restructuring negative pretreatment illness perceptions may help patients to cope more adequately during and after treatment. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck27: XXX–XXX, 2005