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Clin Otolaryngol ; 47(5): 561-567, 2022 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1874404

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To report the incidence of locoregional recurrence in head and neck cancer (HNC) patients under surveillance following treatment undergoing symptom-based remote assessment. DESIGN: A 16-week multicentre prospective cohort study. SETTING: UK ENT departments. PARTICIPANTS: HNC patients under surveillance following treatment undergoing symptom-based telephone assessment. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Incidence of locoregional recurrent HNC after minimum 6-month follow-up. RESULTS: Data for 1078 cases were submitted by 16 centres, with follow-up data completed in 98.9% (n = 1066). Following telephone consultation, 83.7% of referrals had their face-to-face appointments deferred (n = 897/1072). New symptoms were reported by 11.6% (n = 124/1072) at telephone assessment; 72.6% (n = 90/124) of this group were called for urgent assessments, of whom 48.9% (n = 44/90) came directly for imaging without preceding clinical review. The sensitivity and specificity for new symptoms as an indicator of cancer recurrence were 35.3% and 89.4%, respectively, with a negative predictive value of 99.7% (p = .002). Locoregional cancer identification rates after a minimum of 6 months of further monitoring, when correlated with time since treatment, were 6.0% (n = 14/233) <1 year; 2.1% (n = 16/747) between 1 and 5 years; and 4.3% (n = 4/92) for those >5 years since treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Telephone assessment, using patient-reported symptoms, to identify recurrent locoregional HNC was widely adopted during the initial peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom. The majority of patients had no face-to-face reviews or investigations. New symptoms were significantly associated with the identification of locoregional recurrent cancers with a high specificity, but a low sensitivity may limit symptom assessment being used as the sole surveillance method.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Head and Neck Neoplasms , COVID-19/epidemiology , Head and Neck Neoplasms/diagnosis , Head and Neck Neoplasms/epidemiology , Head and Neck Neoplasms/therapy , Humans , Neoplasm Recurrence, Local/diagnosis , Neoplasm Recurrence, Local/epidemiology , Neoplasm Recurrence, Local/therapy , Pandemics , Prospective Studies , Referral and Consultation , Symptom Assessment , Telephone
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