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Functional outcome after different oncological interventions in head and neck cancer patients



Patient-reported outcomes following head and neck cancer are of great importance given the functional, psychological, and social impacts of the disease and its treatment. With an increasing number of publications on HRQOL following head and neck cancer and a growing awareness of the potential role of HRQOL in practice, it was our aim to investigate head and neck functional mobility that is often not taking into account in HRQOL scores.


In this prospective study, three different groups of 32 patients each were included. Any patient who had histologically confirmed invasive OSCC in the anterior floor of the mouth was eligible. All patients were examined by a standardized test assessing function, including the distance of mouth opening, extension, flexion, and rotation of the head.


A total of 96 patients were included in this study. The mean age was 62.79 ± 8.93 years. Head and neck mobility measured in patients is presented and analyzed. Compared to the baseline, a significant reduction of mouth opening and head and neck mobility was noted in all groups.


Although both treatment options (surgery and surgery with radiotherapy) were performed according to the tumor stage of patients, there are significant differences in the functional outcome of these patients as observed in this study. There is a lack of a measuring instrument that will be the “gold standard” in the assessment of head and neck functional mobility. This study will allow the reflection of our current practice and may stimulate further well-designed prospective studies.

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Correspondence to Thomas Mücke.

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Mücke, T., Koschinski, J., Wagenpfeil, S. et al. Functional outcome after different oncological interventions in head and neck cancer patients. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 138, 371–376 (2012).

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  • Mobility
  • Neck dissection
  • Radiation therapy
  • Osteoradionecrosis
  • Surgical resection
  • Oral cancer