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March 2005

Reevaluating Our Professional Priorities: Recognition of the Past, Present, and Future Importance of Head and Neck Surgery

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005;131(3):197. doi:10.1001/archotol.131.3.197

It has been marvelous to note the growth of numbers of physicians, spectrum of practice, and quality of education and expertise that the specialty of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery now represents. However, it is concerning to note the dwindling interest of practitioners and residents alike in caring for patients with head and neck cancer. Most recognize that the high level of intensity and low level of reimbursement for this type of care may be at the root of this apathy. As a specialty composed of general and many subspecialty practices, perhaps we have not responded because, for most practicing otolaryngologists–head and neck surgeons, the issue is not germane, because most of these patients are referred to the “University” where they “can afford to care for them.”