With an increasing number of publications on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) following head and neck cancer, the recognition of a number of well-validated questionnaires and a growing awareness of the potential role of HRQOL in practice, it was our aim to repeat the survey of 2002 reported in the Annais to see how practice changed. A postal survey of members of the British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists was undertaken in January 2006 with reminders sent in February, March and April. The response was 50% (106 of 210) of which 53% were using or had used HRQOL questionnaires. The main reasons for not using HRQOL questionnaires were that they were too time-consuming or intrusive in a clinic setting and that there was a lack of resources. Clinicians still see the use of questionnaires as a research-tool only, rather than an adjunct to giving patient information, promoting choice, and identifying patients with problems. The burden on HRQOL evaluation in routine clinical practice remains a substantial barrier. Advances with IT support in clinic should make it easier to collect and use these data in the future. As surgeons, we still need to be persuaded of the benefits of HRQOL outcomes in our practice.
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