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'Where you're treated matters' in terms of cancer survival
Date:3/1/2013

SEATTLE A study of older patients with advanced head and neck cancers has found that where they were treated significantly influenced their survival. The study, led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and published in the March 1 online edition of Cancer, found that patients who were treated at hospitals that saw a high number of head and neck cancers were 15 percent less likely to die of their disease as compared to patients who were treated at hospitals that saw a relatively low number of such cancers. The study also found that such patients were 12 percent less likely to die of their disease when treated at a National Cancer Institute -designated cancer center.

"Where you're treated matters," said corresponding author Eduardo Mndez, M.D., an assistant member of the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutch.

Mndez and colleagues also hypothesized that patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) who were treated at high-volume hospitals would be more likely to receive therapy that complies with National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines due to the complexity of managing these cancers. Surprisingly, this was not the case, the researchers found.

According to an American Cancer Society estimate, 52,610 Americans were newly diagnosed with head and neck cancer in 2012. Many patients are diagnosed with locally advanced disease that has spread to the lymph nodes, which carries a much poorer prognosis compared to early stage disease. Patients with advanced disease require multidisciplinary management by a collaborative team comprised of multiple physician specialties and disciplines. NCCN guidelines, based on data from randomized controlled trials, recommend multimodality therapy (either surgery followed by adjuvant therapy or primary chemo-radiation) for almost all advanced cases.

The study found that despite the improved survival at high-volume hospitals, the proportion of patients who rec
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Contact: Dean Forbes
dforbes@fhcrc.org
206-667-2896
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Source:Eurekalert

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