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Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2014 May;271(5):1289-97. doi: 10.1007/s00405-013-2738-z. Epub 2013 Oct 10.

Incidence and localization of abnormal mucosa findings in patients consulting ENT outpatient clinics and data analysis of a cancer registry.

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Research Institute for Applied Otolaryngology (WIAHNO) of the German Professional Association of Otolaryngologists e. V., Maienbeeck 1, 24576, Bad Bramstedt, Germany,


For patients without symptoms and at risk, there is no established early detection program to discover carcinomas of the upper aerodigestive tract in the sense of secondary prevention. Such type of prevention seems even more desirable because the chances for a cure and the quality of life are strongly dependent on the stage of the tumor and the time of the initial diagnosis. Six hundred and eight patients without symptoms but at least one of the self-reported risk factors "smoking", "alcohol consumption" or "reflux" were examined with an endoscope or an optical microscope for pathological findings in the upper aerodigestive tract once a year. In addition, the incidence of malignancies of the upper aerodigestive tract between 2001 and 2010 was determined through the Cancer Registry of Schleswig-Holstein. Tissue samples were taken from 18 of the 608 patients. Eleven patients (1.8%) had a squamous cell carcinoma. Another patient suffered from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and one from larynx tuberculosis. The ratio of detected malignancies in the oral cavity and the oropharynx on the one hand and the hypopharynx and larynx, which can only be examined by endoscopes, on the other hand were in our cohorts and in our survey according to the cancer registry was 5/6. The above-described methods allow examining risk patients easily and safely. According to current publications, the ratio of the found malignancies exceeds the expected ratio significantly, which presumably was caused by the examination targeting patients at risk. Due to the expanded examination area using optical instruments more than doubles the rate of discoverable malignancies compared to the limitations posed by the examination of directly visible areas of the oral cavity of the oropharynx.

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