Support needs and quality of life in oral cancer: A systematic review

K. A. Moore, P. J. Ford, C. S. Farah

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This review aims to systematically review the literature describing quality of life (QoL) outcomes and support needs in patients with oral cancer along the cancer trajectory. This is needed to form an evidence base for the design of interventions that enhance outcomes for this group. Methods: Six electronic databases were searched. The results were screened for eligibility, and articles were included if they described patient-reported QoL outcomes that were translatable to support needs in patients with oral cancer. Data were extracted and synthesized according to the support needs identified and their relative impact on QoL. Methodological quality was assessed using the Effective Public Health Practice Project (EPHPP) Quality Assessment Tool. Results: Thirty-one articles met the inclusion criteria. Support needs related to coping with the burden of radiotherapy in both psychosocial and physical aspects, swallowing dysfunction, dry mouth and oral functional deficits. Issues of depression, anxiety and malnutrition were identified as having a significant impact on QoL. Conclusions: Oral cancer support needs are highly subjective and varied in severity across the cancer continuum. Support needs that may warrant further investigation include management of changes to oral health and functioning, swallowing and nutritional compromise and psychological effects of cancer and treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-47
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Dental Hygiene
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


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