Head and Neck Cancer Survivors at Risk of Secondary Cancers, esp if They Smoke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Eric Adjei Boakye, PhD, MA Saint Louis University Center for Health Outcomes Research (SLUCOR) St. Louis, Missouri

Dr. Boakye

Eric Adjei PhD, MA
Saint Louis University Center for Health Outcomes Research (SLUCOR)
St. Louis, Missouri 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Survivors of head and neck cancer (HNC) develop second primary cancers (SPCs) at a higher rate than most common cancers. This is concerning because the number of HNC survivors are increasing due to advancements in treatment and technology. Patients whose head and neck cancer was caused by smoking and alcohol are different than those whose HNC were caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). We therefore used data from 2000-2014 National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) 18 database to examine if the incidence and the type of SPC that patients with smoking-related HNC develop were different from those from HPV-related head and neck cancer.

First, independent of group of HNC (HPV-related or not), we found that SPCs among survivors of head and neck cancer were high, with about 1-in-8 patients developing an SPC. Additionally, irrespective of whether the index . head and neck cancer was from smoking-related or HPV-related, the majority of SPCs were second malignancies in head and neck region (e.g. tongue, gum, mouth floor etc), lung and esophagus. However, we observed different incidence rates between the two groups. Patients with smoking-related head and neck cancer developed SPCs at a higher rate (14%) than those with HPV-related HNC (10%).

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