BACKGROUND Existing health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) tools do not appear to capture patients' specific skin cancer concerns.

OBJECTIVE To describe the conceptual foundation, item generation, reduction process, and reliability testing for the Facial Skin Cancer Index (FSCI), a HRQOL outcomes tool for skin cancer researchers and clinicians.

METHODS Participants in Phases I to III consisted of adult patients (N=134) diagnosed with biopsy-proven nonmelanoma cervicofacial skin cancer. Data were collected via self-report surveys and clinical records.

RESULTS Seventy-one distinct items were generated in Phase I and rated for their importance by an independent sample during Phase II; 36 items representing six theoretical HRQOL domains were retained. Test–retest I results indicated that four subscales showed adequate reliability coefficients (α=0.60 to 0.91). Twenty-six items remained for test–retest II. Results indicated excellent internal consistency for emotional, social, appearance, and modified financial/work subscales (range 0.79 to 0.95); test–retest correlation coefficients were consistent across time (range 0.81 to 0.97; lifestyle omitted).

CONCLUSION Pretesting afforded the opportunity to select items that optimally met our a priori conceptual and psychometric criteria for high data quality. Phase IV testing (validity and sensitivity before surgery and 4 months after Mohs micrographic surgery) for the 20-item FSCI is under way.