• Skin cancer;
  • quality of life;
  • basal cell cancer;
  • squamous cell cancer


Objective: To establish the clinical responsiveness of the Skin Cancer Index (SCI), a new disease-specific quality of life (QOL) instrument, and to assess demographic and clinical factors which impact QOL in patients with nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC).

Study Design: Prospective study of 183 patients with NMSC of the face and neck referred to a tertiary care Mohs surgery clinic.

Methods: The SCI is a 15 item, validated, disease-specific QOL instrument with 3 distinct subscales, Emotion, Social, and Appearance. Higher scores reflect better QOL. The SCI and the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI), a general dermatology instrument, was administered at initial consultation and 4 months after surgical treatment. Multivariate analysis was conducted to assess demographic and clinical factors predictive of QOL for both instruments.

Results: The SCI total score and all three subscale scores increased with treatment, demonstrating strong evidence of responsiveness over time (P < .001) in contrast with the DLQI (P = .46). Predictors of poorer QOL for the SCI included female sex and cancers located on the lip. Patients who demonstrated greatest improvement in QOL with treatment included those who were younger (<50 yr) and had lower reported household income. Also, first time NMSC patients and those patients who underwent less extensive reconstructions demonstrated greater improvements in QOL.

Conclusion: The SCI is a sensitive and responsive QOL instrument for patients with NMSC. Distinct demographic and clinical variables that impact QOL have been demonstrated using this multidimensional, disease-specific instrument.