Head and neck cancer (H&NC) accounts for one sixth of cancer diagnoses in the UK and globally. Curative treatment rates for early tumours are 80-90% using surgery, radiotherapy, and/or systemic anti-cancer treatments with up to 59% of people surviving for 10 or more years after diagnosis.
Survivors having surgical resection may have multiple scars, including those local to the tumour site and from donor graft sites on the limbs and torso. Scars can significantly alter appearance and affect functionally critical structures. Resulting body image concerns may cause behavioural and emotional difficulties which affect quality of life.
We investigated a novel intervention, ScarWork, to assess its potential impact on the physiological and psychological morbidity associated with linear surgical scars that are a consequence of curative treatment of H&NC.