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The Skin Cancer Index: Clinical Responsiveness and Predictors of Quality of Life

Authors

  • John S. Rhee MD, MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
    • Dr. John S. Rhee, Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226.
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  • B. Alex Matthews PhD,

    1. Health Policy Institute, Center for Patient Care and Outcomes Research, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
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  • Marcy Neuburg MD,

    1. Department of Dermatology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
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  • Brent R. Logan PhD,

    1. Division of Biostatistics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
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  • Mary Burzynski RN,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
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  • Ann B. Nattinger MD, MPH

    1. Health Policy Institute, Center for Patient Care and Outcomes Research, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
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  • Accepted for presentation at The Triological Society Combined Section Meeting, Marco Island, Florida, U.S.A., February 14–18, 2007.

    This research was in part funded by an educational grant from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery and the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute R03 CA108271.

Abstract

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.

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