THE EXPERIENCES OF ORAL CANCER PATIENTS: A NARRATIVE REVIEW
This is a critical review of the current evidence on patients’ experiences with oral cancer. The impact on the quality of life and implications to clinical practice and research were also discussed. A comprehensive search of three databases, PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar was undertaken. The search was restricted to English-language primary research papers from 2009 till 2019. The following keywords were used: mouth neoplasms, patients, experiences, oral cancer, physical, social, psychological. A total of 173 studies were retrieved using the search strategy. After removing duplicate reports and scrutinising those based on title and abstract, 68 studies were shortlisted for full text review. Three major themes emerged from the literature: (1) physical experiences of oral cancer patients, (2) psychological experiences of oral cancer patients, and (3) social experiences of oral cancer patients. Experiences of oral cancer patients are complex and subjective, and phases of physical, psychological, and social experiences of oral cancer have not been explored in detail. However, there is evidence that experiences such as pain, facial alterations, body image disturbances, anxiety, depression, social avoidance, social support, and financial implications affect patients’ quality of life. This review underlines the importance of further research to look into the type of support needed to address various experiences of oral cancer patients.
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