Head and Neck Cancer: Epidemiology, Prevention, Treatment, and Quality of Life

A special issue of Current Oncology (ISSN 1718-7729). This special issue belongs to the section "Head and Neck Oncology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2024 | Viewed by 4861

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
1. Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 0G4, Canada
2. Lady-Davis Institute for Medical Research, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, QC H3T 1E2, Canada
Interests: oncology; cancer; quality of life; advanced cancer; head and neck cancer; sociobehavioural determinants of health; prevention
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cancers of the head and neck are the seventh most common cancers worldwide, with over 600,000 new cases annually. They represent different cancer sites including the oral cavity (lips, buccal mucosa, anterior tongue, hard palate, floor of mouth and retromolar trigone), nasopharynx, oropharynx (tonsils, base of tongue, soft palate, uvula, and posterior pharyngeal wall), hypopharynx, and larynx. Head and neck cancers are etiologically linked to the human papilloma virus (HPV) for oropharyngeal cancer and to health behaviors such as smoking and alcohol for non-HPV squamous cell carcinomas; the latter is known to be patterned with social disparities. Head and neck cancers carry an important burden of disease and treatments, with rehabilitation a mainstay as patients often experience disfigurement and dysfunction (e.g., eating, speech, breathing, mobility, distress). Treatments comprise a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and/or targeted therapies, with an attention to preserving function and quality of life. This Special Issue is designed to feature research on the epidemiology, prevention, treatment, and quality of life of head and neck cancers. We invite authors to contribute to this issue, which will allow more visibility to a population that is often under-served and -researched.

You may choose our Joint Special Issue in Cancers.

Dr. Melissa Henry
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • head and neck cancer
  • epidemiology
  • prevention
  • treatment
  • quality of life

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

11 pages, 857 KiB  
Article
Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study of Salivary Substitute with Enzymatic System for Xerostomia in Patients Irradiated in Head and Neck Region
by Letícia Pacheco Porangaba, Flávio de Melo Garcia, Ana Paula Alvarenga Antonio Rabelo, Amanda Puche Andrade, Fabio de Abreu Alves, Antonio Cássio Assis Pellizzon and Graziella Chagas Jaguar
Curr. Oncol. 2024, 31(2), 1102-1112; https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol31020082 - 18 Feb 2024
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Abstract
This study aims to compare whether the use of a salivary substitute including an enzymatic system clinically reduces the intensity of xerostomia, as well as exploring the impact that this has on the quality of life, in patients who had received radiotherapy in [...] Read more.
This study aims to compare whether the use of a salivary substitute including an enzymatic system clinically reduces the intensity of xerostomia, as well as exploring the impact that this has on the quality of life, in patients who had received radiotherapy in the head and neck (HNC) region. Forty patients who had completed radiotherapy treatment within 6 months to 1 year previously were allocated into an Enzymatic Spray group (n = 21) or a Placebo arm (n = 19). It should be noted that two patients in the Placebo arm declined to participate during phase 2 of the study. All patients were randomized and used both products three times a day for 30 days. For analysis, xerostomia grade, unstimulated (UWS) and stimulated (SWS) salivary flow rate, and quality of life through the University of Washington Quality of Life Questionnaire validated in Portuguese (UW-QoL) were assessed in two phases: Phase 1 (before the use of the products) and Phase 2 (after 30 days of using the products). All clinical data were collected from medical records. Analyzing the salivary substitute with the enzymatic system, an improvement in xerostomia complaints was observed 30 days after using the product; however, this difference was not statistically significant (p > 0.05). Regarding quality of life, no significant differences were observed in relation to the UW-QoL and saliva domain between the groups in the two phases of the study (p > 0.05). The salivary substitute with the enzymatic system may be effective in reducing radio-induced xerostomia symptoms; however, further research is necessary to evaluate the efficacy of this salivary substitute on oral health. Full article
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15 pages, 710 KiB  
Article
Expectations and Experiences of Participating in a Supervised and Home-Based Physical Exercise Intervention in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer during Chemoradiotherapy: A Qualitative Study
by Annemieke Kok, Ellen Passchier, Anne M. May, Harriët Jager-Wittenaar, Cindy Veenhof, Remco de Bree, Martijn M. Stuiver and Caroline M. Speksnijder
Curr. Oncol. 2024, 31(2), 885-899; https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol31020066 - 4 Feb 2024
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Abstract
(1) Background: Chemoradiotherapy (CRT) for head and neck cancer (HNC) is associated with severe toxicity resulting in fatigue and weight loss, including loss of skeletal muscle mass. Exercise interventions might positively affect physical fitness and quality of life. Sufficient adherence and compliance rates [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Chemoradiotherapy (CRT) for head and neck cancer (HNC) is associated with severe toxicity resulting in fatigue and weight loss, including loss of skeletal muscle mass. Exercise interventions might positively affect physical fitness and quality of life. Sufficient adherence and compliance rates are necessary for optimal effects. This study aimed to gain insight into expectations and experiences and factors influencing adherence, retention and compliance of HNC patients participating in exercise intervention during CRT. (2) Methods: Consecutive participants were invited for semi-structured interviews, conducted pre- and post-intervention. A deductive approach was used to identify themes and factors influencing adherence, retention and compliance. (3) Results: Thematic saturation was reached after interviewing 14 patients pre-intervention. Five themes were identified: planning and time management, treatment toxicity, motivation to exercise, exercise intervention and supervision by a physiotherapist. The intensity of the treatment schedule and treatment toxicity were important barriers. Facilitators mentioned were physical and emotional benefits, social support as well as the simplicity and home-based setting of the intervention. (4) Conclusions: A personalised approach, considering the individual facilitators and barriers of HNC patients, is important to increase adherence, retention and compliance to exercise intervention and to reap the optimal effects of the program. Full article
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11 pages, 527 KiB  
Article
Acute Diabetes-Related Complications in Patients Receiving Chemoradiotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer
by Rhiannon Mellor, Christian M. Girgis, Anthony Rodrigues, Charley Chen, Sonia Cuan, Parvind Gambhir, Lakmalie Perera, Michael Veness, Purnima Sundaresan and Bo Gao
Curr. Oncol. 2024, 31(2), 828-838; https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol31020061 - 1 Feb 2024
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Abstract
Patients with cancer and diabetes face unique challenges. Limited data are available on diabetes management in patients undergoing concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT), a curative intent anticancer therapy commonly associated with glucocorticoid administration, weight fluctuations and enteral feeds. This retrospective case–control study examined the real-world [...] Read more.
Patients with cancer and diabetes face unique challenges. Limited data are available on diabetes management in patients undergoing concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT), a curative intent anticancer therapy commonly associated with glucocorticoid administration, weight fluctuations and enteral feeds. This retrospective case–control study examined the real-world incidence of acute diabetes-related complications in patients with head and neck cancer receiving CCRT, along with the impact of diabetes on CCRT tolerance and outcomes. Methods: Consecutive patients with head and neck squamous cell or nasopharyngeal cancer who underwent definitive or adjuvant CCRT between 2010 and 2019 at two large cancer centers in Australia were included. Clinicopathological characteristics, treatment complications and outcomes were collected from medical records. Results: Of 282 patients who received CCRT, 29 (10.3%) had pre-existing type 2 diabetes. None had type 1 diabetes. The majority (74.5%) required enteral feeding. A higher proportion of patients with diabetes required admission to a high-dependency or intensive care unit (17.2 versus 4.0%, p = 0.003). This difference was driven by the group who required insulin at baseline (n = 5), of which four (80.0%) were admitted to a high-dependency unit with diabetes-related complications, and three (60.0%) required omission of at least one cycle of chemotherapy. Conclusions: Patients with diabetes requiring insulin have a high risk of acute life-threatening diabetes-related complications while receiving CCRT. We recommend multidisciplinary management involving a diabetes specialist, educator, dietitian, and pharmacist, in collaboration with the cancer care team, to better avoid these complications. Full article
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11 pages, 1037 KiB  
Article
Head and Neck Cancer Patient Population, Management, and Oncologic Outcomes from the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Julie R. Bloom, Carlos Rodriguez-Russo, Kristin Hsieh, Daniel R. Dickstein, Ren-Dih Sheu, Mayuri Jain, Erin Moshier, Jerry Liu, Vishal Gupta, Diana N. Kirke, Scott Roof, Krzysztof Misiukiewicz, Marshall Posner, Richard Bakst, Kunal K. Sindhu and Sonam Sharma
Curr. Oncol. 2024, 31(1), 436-446; https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol31010029 - 11 Jan 2024
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Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic precipitated drastic changes in cancer care. Its impact on the U.S. head and neck cancer population has yet to be fully understood. This study aims to understand the impact of pandemic-related changes on the head and neck cancer population. An [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic precipitated drastic changes in cancer care. Its impact on the U.S. head and neck cancer population has yet to be fully understood. This study aims to understand the impact of pandemic-related changes on the head and neck cancer population. An observational study of head and neck cancer patients at a single institution during the spring of 2020 and 2019 was performed. Clinical characteristics and survival outcomes were analyzed. In 2020, 54 head and neck cancer patients were evaluated in the department of radiation oncology vs. 74 patients seen in 2019; 42% of the patients were female in 2019 versus 24% in 2020 (p = 0.036). The median follow-up time was 19.4 and 31 months for 2020 and 2019, respectively. After adjusting for stage, the relapse-free survival probability at 6 and 12 months was 79% and 69% in 2020 vs. 96% and 89% in 2019, respectively (p = 0.036). There was no significant difference in the overall survival, with 94% and 89% in 2020 and 2019, respectively (p = 0.61). Twenty-one percent of patients received induction chemotherapy in 2020 versus 5% in 2019 (p = 0.011); significantly more treatment incompletions occurred in 2020, 9% vs. 0% in 2019 (p = 0.012). Moreover, the stage-adjusted RFS differed between cohorts, suggesting head and neck cancer patients seen during the initial wave of COVID-19 may experience worse oncologic outcomes. Full article
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