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Dr. Katzel on Why Women With Head and Neck Cancer are Undertreated

Jed A. Katzel, MD
Published: Wednesday, Jul 18, 2018



Jed A. Katzel, MD, hematology, Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center, discusses why women with head and neck cancer are undertreated.

A study done in Northern California found that women are more likely than men to die from head and neck cancer compared with other causes, even when generalized competing events (GCE) analysis considered tumor location and stage, states Katzel.

Compared with men, women were less likely to receive intensive chemotherapy (35% vs 46%; P = .006) and radiation (60% vs 70%; P = .008). More research needs to be done to figure out why that is the case, says Katzel.

In the analysis, researchers also found that there was a statistically significant difference in tumor location. The rate of oropharyngeal cancer in women was 38%, whereas the rate of oropharyngeal cancer in men was 55%, says Katzel. Oropharyngeal cancer is more likely to be HPV related. HPV-related head and neck cancer has a better prognosis and a better response to therapy, notes Katzel. Further research will include a chart-by-chart review as well as the upcoming NRG-HN004 clinical trial that will use the GCE model prospectively.


Jed A. Katzel, MD, hematology, Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center, discusses why women with head and neck cancer are undertreated.

A study done in Northern California found that women are more likely than men to die from head and neck cancer compared with other causes, even when generalized competing events (GCE) analysis considered tumor location and stage, states Katzel.

Compared with men, women were less likely to receive intensive chemotherapy (35% vs 46%; P = .006) and radiation (60% vs 70%; P = .008). More research needs to be done to figure out why that is the case, says Katzel.

In the analysis, researchers also found that there was a statistically significant difference in tumor location. The rate of oropharyngeal cancer in women was 38%, whereas the rate of oropharyngeal cancer in men was 55%, says Katzel. Oropharyngeal cancer is more likely to be HPV related. HPV-related head and neck cancer has a better prognosis and a better response to therapy, notes Katzel. Further research will include a chart-by-chart review as well as the upcoming NRG-HN004 clinical trial that will use the GCE model prospectively.

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