Report from the analysis of implementiation of 4th Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week in Department of Otolaryngology in Międzyleski Hospital in Warsaw
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Introduction: The aim of the study was to analyze the profile of patients who reported for free screening examinations during the 4th European Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week to the Department of Otolaryngology, Miedzylesie Specialist Hospital, Warsaw, Poland.
Material and methods: We enrolled 225 patients, aged 26-92 years (mean, 63 years). There were 149 women (66%) and 76 men (34%). All patients filled out a survey regarding risk factors of head and neck cancer (HNC), including symptoms and lifestyle characteristics. Subsequently, all participants underwent a complete laryngological examination.
Results: Among the studied patients, we found the following lifestyle-related risk factors of HNC: tobacco use (22%), alcohol use more than 1 time per week (12%), oral sex (17%), multiple sexual partners (10%), rare dental checkups (24%), and dental prostheses (45%). The most frequent symptoms that prompted the patients to report for screening exams were as follows: chronic hoarseness (64%), xerostomia (39%), dysphagia (37%), nasal congestion (6%), and neck tumor (5%). Further imaging studies were ordered in 15 patients (7%), fiberoscopy in 25 (11%), and lesion excision in 18 (8%). Among the studied patients, 17 were referred for further oncological treatment, of whom 14 had benign tumors and 4 malignant tumors.
Conclusions: The Head and Neck Cancer Awareness campaign increased the awareness of HNC, and it should systematically encompass people at increased risk. By implementing this program in our department, we were able to detect and initiate early treatment in 7.5% of the screened people. However, appropriate workup and treatment require funding and therefore systemic measures should be taken to enable a wide implementation of such screening programs.
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