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

eived multimodality therapy was similar 78 percent and 79 percent at low- and high-volume hospitals, respectively.

"NCCN guidelines are well publicized in the medical community and it was exciting to learn that clinicians at both high- and low-volume hospitals are implementing these guidelines into the complex clinical management of patients with head and neck cancer," said Mndez, who is an expert in the surgical treatment of head and neck cancer and an associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

"Although this study does not necessarily mean that all patients with advanced HNSCC should be treated at high-volume hospitals or at NCI-designated cancer centers, it does suggest that features of these hospitals, such as a multidisciplinary team approach or other institutional factors, play a critical role in influencing survival without influencing whether patients receive NCCN-guideline therapy," the authors concluded.

The implementation of NCCN-guideline therapy can be challenging because there are toxicities associated with these treatments that require a high level of support and infrastructure, such as that found at comprehensive cancer centers, according to Mndez.

The Hutchinson Center/University of Washington Cancer Consortium is the Pacific Northwest's only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center. Patient care is provided at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, which, in partnership with Fred Hutch, UW and Seattle Children's, is a member of the NCCN.

The authors said that given the complex treatment and coordination required for patients with advanced HNSCC, suboptimal care and outcomes may be more likely in these patients compared to those who require less-complex care. In addition to their complexity, treatment modalities for advanced HNSCC have significant toxicities, which pose an additional barrier for fully implementing NCCN guideline therapy.

Prior studies in diseas
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Contact: Dean Forbes
dforbes@fhcrc.org
206-667-2896
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Source:Eurekalert

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