The impact of a head and neck cancer (HNC) diagnosis on a person and the consequences of its treatment across multiple functional domains can profoundly alter quality of life (QOL). By pursuing patient-centered management and considering the entire gamut of physical, psychological and social problems, QOL studies contribute more than just routine mortality and morbidity data. Assessments can now be made using a variety of both specific and generic measures to optimise patient care and to aid the development of informed rehabilitation services. Unfortunately, there exists no 'gold-standard' questionnaire in the literature and the choice is largely based on clinician preference, research objectives and psychometric properties. Future efforts must be made to effectively use modern technological and computational advances to set up item banks and newer theoretical models. Longitudinal studies with pre-determined priori should be encouraged as should the utilisation of minimalist approaches and incisive item response theory. Most importantly, in order to link research to clinical practice, health related QOL (HRQOL) studies should be devised and utilised in a way as to provide clinically meaningful data to the treating physician useful for patient' care.