Psychological characteristics versus swallowing and speech rehabilitation efficiency in patients after oral cavity cancer excision

Aleksandra Zarek, Ludmiła Halczy-Kowalik, Anna Rzewuska, Violetta Posio, Małgorzata Stecewicz


Introduction: Personality traits of the patients surgically treated due to oral cancer form anxiety and depression levels associated with body deformation, as well as life quality during illness, and they are also associated with life span of the patients. It is purposeful to take personality traits into account during treatment management and rehabilitation of the patients. The aim of work is to recognize the association between personality traits and functional rehabilitation course in the patients treated due to oral cancer.

Materials and methods: 100 patients (W – 42, M – 58; 55.78 ±11.68 years) surgically treated due to oral cavity squamous carcinoma. Patients participated in the rehabilitation of oral functions. Wound healing course, postoperative facial deformity, breathing, swallowing, and speech were assessed in relation to “self-image”, “body image”, and “the level of acceptance of the disease” according to the Adjective Check List ACL-37, Body Cathexis Scale, and Illness Acceptance Scale after 2, 4, and 12 weeks post-surgically.

Results: Greater swallowing efficiency after 4 weeks post-surgically was present in patients with a stronger need for order and endurance. Patients who achieved greater speech efficiency in the 4th week post-surgically accepted their illness in a greater part. Patients in whom post-surgical deformity was greater showed lesser intensity in: achievements, domination, endurance, self-exposure, spontaneity in interpersonal contacts. These patients are characterized with lower self-reliance and greater need for counselling.

Conclusions: Different personality traits of patients at different stages of rehabilitation are of importance. Patients with greater post-surgical deformities need special support. Psychological assessment simplifies the selection of the rehabilitating patients who need particular support in the range of building motivation for functional rehabilitation, and developing social skills which simplify illness adaptation.


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