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Clin Otolaryngol Allied Sci. 1994 Apr;19(2):120-4.

Head and neck carcinoma--stage at presentation.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow, UK.


A prospective study was performed during a 2-year-period. A total of 127 patients presenting with a squamous cell carcinoma of the head, neck and upper aerodigestive tract were entered into the study. Patients were classified according to the primary site, namely: larynx (n = 44), oropharynx (n = 28), hypopharynx (n = 17) and oral cavity (n = 19) and others (n = 19). Patients were staged according to the UICC TNM classification (1987) and the nature and duration of their symptoms were recorded. Sixty-one per cent of patients were found to be presenting with advanced disease (stages 3 and 4): oropharynx--71%; hypopharynx--77%; oral cavity--50%; larynx--34%. No relationship could be established between stage at presentation and duration of symptoms and 53% of patients with advanced disease had been symptomatic for less than 3 months at the time of diagnosis. Only 28% of patients presenting with stage 3 or 4 disease had symptoms for 3 months or longer. Earlier diagnosis will not make a significant impact on the overall prognosis in head and neck cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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