Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Philip Doyle


Background: One of the most distressing aspects of head and neck cancer (HNC) is the potential for physical disfigurement. Such changes may impact one’s body image (BI) with a secondary potential to impact long-term functioning; hence, changes in perceived BI may be seen as a critical component that influences post-treatment quality of life (QOL).

Methods: Forty participants completed 4 validated questionnaires during regular clinical follow-up visits.

Results: Perception of BI image does influence perception of QOL following HNC treatment(s), yet perceptions are highly individualized. Gender related differences are notable on BI questionnaire scores.

Conclusions: Data suggest that efforts to identify changes in perceived BI may not only be of concern for those with obvious levels of disfigurement. Data also suggest that assessment of BI may reduce the potential for post-treatment distress and decreased QOL, thus, should be included in comprehensive rehabilitation efforts to achieve optimal outcomes in those with HNC.