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Head Neck Oncol. 2011 Oct 28;3:47. doi: 10.1186/1758-3284-3-47.

Economic burden of resected squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck in an incident cohort of patients in the UK.

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OptumInsight, Stockholm, Sweden.



SCCHN is the sixth most common cancer worldwide. Locally advanced SCCHN continues to be a therapeutic challenge with high rates of morbidity and mortality and a low cure rate. Despite the apparent impact of SCCHN on patients and presumably society, the economic burden of the treatment of resected SCCHN patients in the UK has not been investigated.


This retrospective data analysis was based on in- and outpatient care records extracted from Hospital Episode Statistic database and linked to mortality data in the UK. SCCHN patients with resection of lip, tongue, oral cavity, pharynx or larynx were followed for at least one year (max. of 5 years) from the date of first resection.


A total of 11,403 patients (mean age 63.2 years, 69.8% males) who met study criteria were followed for an average of 31 months. 32.3% of patients died in the follow-up period and the mean time to death was 16.9 months. In the first year, mean number of days of hospitalization and number of outpatient visits was 21.6 and 4.2, respectively; mean number of reconstructive and secondary surgeries was 0.32 and 0.14 per patient, respectively; 4.7% of the patients received radiotherapy and 12.2% received chemotherapy. From the second to fifth year healthcare utilizations rates were lower. Mean cost of post-operative healthcare utilization was £23,212 over 5 years (£19,778 for the first year and £1477, £847, £653 and £455 for years 2-5). Total cost of post-operative healthcare utilisation was estimated to be £255.5 million over the 5-year follow-up.


In the UK, SCCHN patients after surgical resection needed considerable healthcare resources and incurred substantial costs. Study findings might provide a useful source for clinicians and decision makers in understanding the economic burden of managing SCCHN in the UK and also suggests a need for new therapies that could improve outcomes and reduce the disease burden.

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