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OHNC - How is it Treated and What are the Risk Factors?

Treatment Options and Morbidity


Updated August 11, 2004

Treatment: Although surgery followed by radiation is the most commonly used treatment program for OHNC,
  • 43% of those asked selected chemotherapy
  • 41% selected chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy
  • 27% selected chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy and surgery.
  • 39% had no idea what treatments were available.
Treatment Related Morbidity: When asked to identify possible side effects of treatment for OHNC, answers from the overall group as well as tobacco users were similar. They rarely selected the most common and most life-altering side effects of treatment:
  • disfigurement - 4%
  • loss of taste - 4%
  • difficulty speaking - 2%
  • sore mouth and gums - 1%
  • xerostomia(dry mouth) - 1%
  • Hair loss - 31%
  • Nausea - 21%
  • Vomiting - 7%
  • Of those asked, 46% didn't know any of the side effects for treatment of OHNC.
  • 26% of respondents reported having been examined by a doctor for OHNC.
  • 94% of those asked said they'd never been taught how to self-exam for this disease.
Tobacco and Alcohol Usage:
  • 26% of respondents said they use a tobacco product.
  • 3% of the overall group reported consuming more than four alcoholic drinks per day, while 6% of those who use tobacco drink four or more alcholic beverages daily.
Conclusion: Knowledge of risk factors, as well as symptoms that would allow for early detection of oral and head and neck cancer is severely lacking among American adults, especially those who are in the high risk groups. The study's authors indicate educating the public by expanding health education programs about OHNC, especially for those who are at high risk for developing these cancers.

OHNC Risk Factors
Symptoms of OHNC

The results of "Survey of Oral and Head and Neck Cancer Knowledge among the American Public" will be presented by authors, T.A. Day, MD, of the Head and Neck Tumor Program, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, S.G. Reed and G.F. Cannick, of College of Dental Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, and A.M. Horowitz, of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, Bethesda, MD, at the 6th International Conference on Head and Neck cancer being held August 7-11, 2004, at the Wardman Park Marriot, in Washington, D.C.

The American Head and Neck Society
11300 W. Olympic Blvd, Suite 600, Los Angeles, CA 90064
ph: (310) 437-0559 / fx: (310) 437-0585

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