Evaluation of pain in patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma

S. Thaddeus Connelly, Brian L. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study we have developed and tested a novel pain questionnaire to measure the pain experienced by patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma. The questionnaire consisted of 8 questions rated by the patient on a visual analog scale. Patients completed the questionnaire at the time of initial presentation before surgical treatment. None of the patients were taking analgesics. The responses were then scored and compiled with patient data and pathology reports. Of the 15 completed questionnaires, 14 patients reported some level of functional restriction from pain (mean, 46.6 ± 25.2, scale of 0 to 100 mm). On average, patients experienced significantly higher function-related, rather than spontaneous, pain intensity and sharpness. Men (n = 8) had a significantly higher level of function-related pain intensity and sharpness than women had (n = 7). There was a strong correlation between nodal disease and increased levels of spontaneous intensity, sharpness, throbbing, and overall functional restriction. The results of this study indicate the heterogeneous nature and function dependence of oral cancer pain. The questionnaire we have developed in this study will allow for correlations between pain parameters and specific tumor biology in future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-510
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pain
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Oral cancer
  • cancer pain
  • quality of life
  • questionnaire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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