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Surgery. 1979 Sep;86(3):493-6.

Triple endoscopy: a neglected essential in head and neck cancer.


Surgeons are sometimes embarrassed to discover a second unanticipated cancer while focusing attention on an already evident cancer in the head and neck area, the bronchus, or the esophagus. we began in October, 1976, to do direct laryngoscopy, esophagoscopy, and bronchoscopy on each of the 134 cases admitted to our unit with suspected head and neck cancer. In 10 of the 134 patients in whom triple endoscopy was done, no malignancy was found. Of 24 of 124 (20%) patients with head and neck cancer, 16 patients (13%) had synchronous carcinoma and eight patients (7%) had metachronous carcinoma in this 2-year period. The incidence can be expected to rise steadily with time and mandates "triple endoscopy" on all patients with a suspected cancer in the head and neck area, the bronchus, or the esophagus, as these structures form a closely related unstable field. The discovery of several patients with dysplastic mucosal changes, carcinoma in situ, or very early invasive cancer, not only of the head and neck but also of the esophagus and bronchus, presents new problems of management.

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