Chinese Tongue Cancer Survivorsâ€™ Perspectives One Year Post-Partial Glossectomy
Background: Tongue cancer is the most common form of oral cancer globally. Treatment for tongue cancer has become more effective, but there are heavy functional and aesthetic sequelae that affect quality of life.Â Assisting patients to attain a satisfactory quality of life post-operatively requires health care providers have an understanding of how these sequelae are perceived by the patients. Little is known about how people in China perceive and manage the sequelae of tongue cancer surgery.
Objective: To understand how people in one province in China perceive and manage the sequelae of surgery for tongue cancer.
Population: Sixteen participants from a provincial hospital in China who had partial glossectomy and free thigh flap reconstruction at a major Chinese cancer center were enrolled in the study. All were men.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants one year following their surgery.Â Interviews were conducted and transcribed in Mandarin.Â Analysis was conducted using modified content analysis techniques to identify and describe major categories.
Interpretation: We identified several categories related to functional alterations, appearance changes, social impacts, and management of the sequelae.Â These include changes in eating, speech, decreased shoulder mobility, facial appearance; the impact of these changes on social activities; and accommodations made such as use of Traditional Chinese Medicine and changes in eating patterns.
Conclusions: The support of family and friends was important to the recovery process. Adaptations to the treatment sequelae allowed these participants to maintain adequate food intake, resume some daily activity, and manage discomfort. Physical therapy may alleviate shoulder weakness and numbness post-surgery.
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