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Abstract

Background  Quality of life (QOL) issues in patients with non-metastatic skin cancer are not satisfactorily demonstrated when using existing QOL questionnaires.

Objective  To construct and validate a 10 item disease-specific QOL questionnaire, the Skin Cancer Quality of Life Impact Tool (SCQOLIT), for use in patients following treatment of non-metastatic skin cancer.

Methods  The SCQOLIT was constructed and administered initially to 120 patients with non-metastatic skin cancer, 60 with malignant melanoma (MM) and 60 with non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) following treatment, then repeated in half this cohort at seven days, and the other half at three months. Data was collected on age, gender, skin cancer type and Breslow thickness. Statistical validation was undertaken.

Results  There were 113 valid SCQOLIT responses at initial completion (54 in the MM group, and 59 in the NMSC group). Initial SCQOLIT median scores (interquartile range [IQR], range) for the two groups were 10 (12, 0–28) MM, and 4 (5, 0–19) NMSC. Amongst the cohort readministered the SCQOLIT at three months (23 in the MM group, 25 in the NMSC group) median scores (IQR, range) were 6 (6, 0–26) MM and 3 (4, 0–20) NMSC.

Conclusions  The SCQOLIT is a validated disease-specific QOL questionnaire for use in patients following treatment of non-metastatic skin cancer. Higher SCQOLIT scores are observed in MM patients than NMSC patients, but diminish with time in the MM group. Patients with persistently elevated SCQOLIT scores merit additional attention.