Evaluation of quality of life in patients surgically treated for potentially malignant oral lesions

Indian J Cancer. Jul-Sep 2021;58(3):371-377. doi: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_361_19.

Abstract

Background: The oral potentially malignant disorders (OPMDs) can impair the quality of life (QOL) of an individual. The evaluation of various aspects of life getting affected will help the health service providers to better comprehend the problems faced by the patients. This study aimed to evaluate the postoperative QOL of surgically treated patients for OPMDs.

Materials and methods: It was a cross-sectional study done on 45 follow-up patients, aged 24-80 years, who were surgically treated for OPMDs. A performa with questions regarding sociodemographics, personal, and abusive habits and a questionnaire on QOL was used. Oral examination was done to analyze the oral mucosa for recurrence. Data were analyzed using frequency analysis and unpaired student's t-test to compare the mean scores.

Results: Several patients reported to have experienced a lot of pain (15, 33%), burning sensation on having spicy food (36, 80%), great difficulty in opening mouth (15, 33%), alteration in taste sensation (36, 80%), limiting of eating desired food (24, 53%), and dryness of mouth (7, 16%). Many patients felt very frustrated, depressed (9, 20%), and reported their condition to have affected their satisfaction with life (19, 42%). However, neither did social relationship with family and friends got affected by this nor did it add discomfort to them at parties, social functions, or get together. Their main concern was the likelihood of their oral condition progressing into cancer. There was a statistically significant difference in the QOL scores for habit of areca nut chewing (P = 0.05), erythroplakia lesions (P = 0.05), and recurrence of lesion (P = 0.02).

Conclusion: OPMDs affected the physical, functional, and psychological well-being of study patients, caused discomfort, and affected their daily activities. However, the social well-being of patients was unaltered and a large number of patients were reportedly satisfied with their treatments. The timely diagnosis and management can improve the quality of life and prevent its progression to malignancy.

Keywords: Postsurgical management; potentially malignant oral lesions; quality of life.