Dr. Hisham Mehanna on Quality of Life Differences in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Cancer

Dr. Hisham Mehanna

Hisham Mehanna, MBChB, PhD, Chair, Head and Neck Surgery, Director, Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education at University of Birmingham, discusses differences in the quality of life (QoL) and functional outcomes of treatment between HPV-positive and HPV-negative patients with head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC).

The study found that HPV-positive patients start out with a much higher QoL and less symptoms, while HPV-negative patients have a reduced QoL. However, during treatment QoL drops dramatically in HPV-positive patients and becomes worse than those who are HPV-negative, explains Mehanna.

Overtime HPV-positive patients experience an improved QoL, and by the end of 18 months the QoL of the HPV-negative patients is once again lower than those who are HPV-positive. This means that HPV-positive patients need more support during treatment, while HPV-negative patients need more long-term support, said Mehanna.

The study was a follow-up to PET-NECK, a randomized, phase III, controlled trial comparing PET/CT guided active surveillance with planned neck dissection for patients with locally advanced HNSCC treated with primary radical chemoradiotherapy.

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