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The outcome of patients with cancer of the head and neck is significantly improved by increased interdisciplinary cooperation. The main focus of this study was a comparison of epidemiologic factors (age, sex, origin, staging) of patients with head and neck cancer in Styria, with those for patients throughout Austria.
A retrospective data analysis of collected archived tumor board protocols of the Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) Graz included the patient’s age, sex, area of residence, TNM stage, reasons for inoperability, comorbidities and performance status by ECOG (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group), was performed. This study focuses on 340 patients who presented with a head and neck malignancy for the first time.
In the period from January 2014 to December 2015 a total of 252 men (74.1%) and 88 women (25.9%) with malignant head and neck tumors, were presented in the tumor board for the first time. The mean age at diagnosis was 63.4 years. In 45.5% the patients already demonstrated advanced tumor stages (T4 = 27.9%, T3 = 17.6%). Most newly diagnosed neoplasms were cancers of the oropharynx (24.1%), larynx (19.4%) and oral cavity (18.8%) and 36.5% were considered to be inoperable. Curative and palliative treatments were initiated in 83.2% and 16.9%, respectively.
The region of south Styria showed a higher incidence of T3 and T4 tumors of the oropharynx than the average Austrian population. Measures to increase awareness of this problem should be initiated to support general otorhinolaryngologists and general practitioners in detecting oropharyngeal cancers at an earlier stage.