Friday, May 8, 2015

Compliance and follow-up boosts head and neck cancer survival

CANCER DIGEST – May 8, 2015 – Treatment compliance and post-treatment follow up care makes a big difference in five-year survival of people with a form of head and neck cancer, a new study shows.

Researchers led by Michael W. Deutschmann, MD of the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, followed 332 patients for an average of 45 months after treatment for head and neck squamous cell cancer. The five-year survival rate for this cancer is a little above 50 percent.

While most of the patients (213, 64%) did not develop a recurrence, among the 101 (30%) who missed three or more appointments during the monitoring period, were more likely to have continued smoking, and were more likely to have a cancer recurrence. Among the 332 patients studied, 22 (7%) lived more than 200 miles away from the treatment center and had lower five-year survival. The researchers suggested that lack of access to medical services, as well as the travel time required for follow-up visits, may explain why a greater distance from KUMC was associated with worse survival.

The researchers wrote, “Patients who were compliant with their PTS [post-treatment surveillance] were significantly more likely to quit tobacco products, and those who quit had improved survival.” The study appeared online yesterday in the journal JAMA Otolaryngolgy Head Neck Surgery

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