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Veterans Have Poor Oral, Throat Cancer Outcomes

In oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma, overall survival at five years is 40 percent

MONDAY, Aug. 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- In veterans, oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is associated with traditional carcinogens and poor clinical outcomes, according to a study published in the September issue of Head & Neck.

Vlad C. Sandulache, M.D., Ph.D., from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues evaluated patient, tumor, and treatment characteristics for 200 veterans treated for oropharyngeal SCC between 2000 and 2012.

The researchers found that most patients (77 percent) were white and heavy smokers. During treatment, 27 patients required tracheostomy and 63 required gastrostomy placement. At five years, overall survival (OS) was 40 percent. T classification, treatment intensity, completion of treatment, and p16 tumor status all impacted survival. Completion of a treatment regimen consistent with National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines was unattainable by almost 30 percent of patients.

"Oropharyngeal SCC in veterans is associated with traditional carcinogens and poor clinical outcomes," the authors write. "Careful consideration must be given to improving treatment paradigms for this cohort given their limited tolerance for treatment escalation."

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