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February 1995

Demographic Portrayal and Outcome Analysis of Head and Neck Cancer Surgery in the Elderly

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology, Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995;121(2):150-154. doi:10.1001/archotol.1995.01890020014004

Objective:  To analyze the outcome and risk factors for 217 elderly patients who have undergone surgery for head and neck cancer, with or without radiation therapy.

Design:  The risk factors that were reviewed included the primary tumor size, TNM staging, disease stage, preoperative health status, and type of surgical procedure.

Setting:  Head and neck oncology clinic at North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem.

Results:  The disease stage was directly related to prognosis, while advanced age and concomitant medical conditions were not. Complications were more prevalent with increased patient age, and the 57 patients who were older than 81 years had a slightly lower 3- and 5-year survival than those who were 65 to 80 years old. Sixty-six percent of all patients were discharged at 2 weeks, and 5% remained hospitalized for longer than 1 month. At the latest follow-up, 46% of the patients were alive without recurrence or had died of other causes.

Conclusions:  Appropriate surgical therapy of head and neck cancer can be as effective in elderly patients as in younger patients without a significant increase in complications.(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995;121:150-154)

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