Objectives: To assess the quality of life of patients treated for oral cancer, analyzing their physical, social/family, functional and emotional well-being; to identify socioeconomic and clinical functional variables that may potentially influence their quality of life; to describe the patients' epidemiologic profile (sex and age) and tumor features (histopathology, anatomical location and stage); to identify the frequency of risk factors associated with the malignancy.
Study design: Observational cross-sectional study-case series study undertaken in 2 cancer treatment institutions in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, Brazil, between 2000 and 2007.
Results: Of the 88 registered oral cancer patients, 16 were selected for the study sample. The majority of the study sample (87%) included males, with a mean age of 57.06 years; 43.8% were retired; 50% had not completed elementary education. Most (56.3%) had a monthly income of less than the minimum wage. Most (83.7%) smoked before cancer diagnosis and 43.8% from this sample continued to smoke after treatment. In addition, those who drank alcohol before treatment continued drinking (31.3%). The tongue was the predominant anatomic site (37.5%). The patients' quality of life score was fair; the best result was for emotional well-being.
Conclusions: Despite the limitations imposed by low survival, it was possible to evaluate the quality of life of these patients. Patients having a family income higher than the minimum monthly wage scored significantly better in final indexes FACT-G and FACT-HN than those with a lower income.