Follow-up in patients treated for head and neck cancer
Principles of follow-up management in patients treated for head and neck tumors are not very strictly defined, and practice varies between countries, centers, and specialists. Details of follow-up procedures, including timing of outpatient visits and diagnostic imaging, are specific for tumor types and localizations but also depend on treatment modalities used, availability of diagnostic procedures, and socioeconomic factors. The authors describe general principles of follow-up in head and neck cancer patients. Clinical observation and laboratory and imaging studies in patients who had received radical treatment should focus on early identification of recurrent or second primary tumors to allow for a salvage radical therapy. In patients who initially had received a palliative care, the follow-up should focus on proper management of symptoms.