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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 49  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 6-10

Head and neck cancer in India: Need to formulate uniform national treatment guideline?

Department of Head and Neck Oncology, Mazumdar-Shaw Cancer Center, Narayana Hrudayalaya, Bangalore, India

Correspondence Address:
N P Trivedi
Department of Head and Neck Oncology, Mazumdar-Shaw Cancer Center, Narayana Hrudayalaya, Bangalore
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.98907

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Background: In a large and diverse country like India, there is a wide variation in the availability of infrastructure and expertise to treat head-neck cancer patients. Lack of consistent adherence to evidence-based management is the biggest problem. Aims: There is an unmet need to evaluate the existing treatment practices to form the basis for development of effective and uniform treatment policies. Settings and Designs: Prospective case series. Materials and Methods: A group of previously treated, potentially curable patients presenting to our institution (from April 2009 to March 2011) were evaluated for appropriateness of initial treatment based on National Comprehensive Cancer Network or Tata Memorial Hospital guidelines. Data regarding treatment center, protocol and accuracy of delivered treatment and their eventual outcome were analyzed. Statistical Analysis: Descriptive. Results: Amongst 450 newly registered patients, 77(17%) were previously treated with curative intent and 69(89%) of them were inappropriately treated. Seventeen (25%) patients were treated in clinics while 12(17%) in cancer centers and 34(50%) in corporate hospitals. Fourteen (20%) patients received chemotherapy, 22(32%) received radiotherapy and 14(20%) underwent surgery while 19(28%) patients received multimodality treatment. Disease stage changed to more advanced stage in 40(58%) patients and curative intent treatment could be offered only to 33(48%) patients. Amongst 56 patients available for outcome review, 18(32%) patients were alive disease-free, 20(36%) had died and 18(32%) were alive with disease. Conclusion: Large numbers of potentially curable patients are inappropriately treated and their outcome is significantly affected. Many initiatives have been taken in the existing National Cancer Control Program but formulation of a uniform national treatment guideline should be prioritized.


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