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Overview of approach to long-term survivors of head and neck cancer

Robert I Haddad, MD
Sewanti Limaye, MD
Section Editor
Larissa Nekhlyudov, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
Michael E Ross, MD


The term "cancer survivor" has been used variably in the literature; in general, a cancer survivor refers to any person who has been diagnosed with cancer until the end of life [1]. There are more than half a million survivors who have been rendered cured of head and neck cancer in the United States today [2]. The steady increase in the rate of head and neck cancer survivors is likely due to advances in treatment, decrease in smoking rates, and the improved prognosis associated with oropharyngeal carcinomas associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection [3]. (See "Human papillomavirus associated head and neck cancer".)

This topic will review the long-term issues of survivors of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), specifically discussing the group of survivors who are without evidence of disease for at least five years [4,5]. Other topics that discuss complications and quality of life in patients following a diagnosis of head and neck cancer are covered separately.

(See "Health-related quality of life in head and neck cancer".)

(See "Management and prevention of complications during initial treatment of head and neck cancer".)

(See "Management of late complications of head and neck cancer and its treatment".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Apr 13, 2017.
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