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Dental Status and Quality of Life in Long-Term Head and Neck Cancer Survivors

Authors

  • Rebecca L. Duke MD,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, The Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
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  • Bruce H. Campbell MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, The Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
    2. MCW Cancer Center, The Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
    • Dr. Bruce H Campbell, Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, 9200 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53226-3522, U.S.A.
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  • A Thomas Indresano DMD,

    1. Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, The Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
    Current affiliation:
    1. Dr. Indresano is currently at the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
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  • Derek J. Eaton DDS,

    1. Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, The Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
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  • Anne M. Marbella MS,

    1. Department of Family and Community Medicine, The Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
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  • Katherine B. Myers RN, BSN,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, The Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
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  • Peter M. Layde MD, MSc

    1. MCW Cancer Center, The Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
    2. Department of Family and Community Medicine, The Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
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  • Supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (R01 CA78940), PI: Campbell.

Abstract

Objectives: To analyze how the dental status of long-term head and neck cancer survivors affects their subjective quality of life.

Study Design: Observational case series.

Methods: A convenience sample of 5-year head and neck cancer survivors underwent the following battery of tests: 1) targeted head and neck examination, 2) updated medical history, 3) dental evaluation, 4) standardized quality of life questionnaires.

Results: Eighty-six survivors were included in the study. The following associations were identified: 1) those who became edentulous secondary to cancer treatment and those without occlusion at time of the study demonstrated worse Pain, Activity, Recreation/Entertainment, Chewing, Swallowing, Speech, Eating in Public, Normalcy of Diet, Physical Well-Being, Social/Family Well-Being, Functional Well-Being, and Additional Concerns scores; 2) higher Decayed/Missing/Filled scores were associated with worse Pain, Disfigurement, Activity, Recreation/Entertainment, Employment, Chewing, Swallowing, Speech, Eating in Public, Understandability of Speech, Normalcy of Diet, Physical Well-Being, Additional Concerns scores, and weight loss; 3) decreased oral opening measurements were associated with worse Chewing, Swallowing, Eating in Public, Normalcy of Diet, Additional Concerns scores, and weight loss; 4) edentulous survivors who did not use dentures had worse Pain, Activity, Recreation/Entertainment, Understandability of Speech, and Eating in Public scores.

Conclusions: Although previous studies have shown that many of the effects of cancer treatment disappear between 1 and 3 years, this study shows that the dental status has a persistent impact on subjective quality of life.

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