In advanced head and neck malignancies - CCRT(concurrent chemo radiotherapy) , is the current standard as definitive or adjuvant treatment. It is administered in the setting of 1) unresectable disease, 2) organ preservation in laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers and 3) high risk features post surgical resection -positive margins, residual disease, extracapsular spread , multiple nodes and perineural or lymphovascular spread.
This modality has only been recently introduced in the NT with the establishment of the Alan Walker Cancer Center since 2010.The clinical setting in the NT is unique in that more patients are from remote areas, climate is primarily tropical : and about 30% of the patients are indigenous.It is important to analyse the toxicity and efficacy of this treatment modality in this clinical setting in order to identify any unique problems relevant to our patient population.
All adult patients (aged 18 years or above) suffering from histologically proven Head and Neck Cancer who have received definitive or adjuvant chemoradiation (with either platinum compunds or cetuximab) since the establishment of Alan Walker Cancer Center (2010 till August 2012) will be taken up for the study. Expected sample size is 60 -70 patients.Toxicity will be graded according to COMMON TOXICITY CRITERIA FOR ADVERSE EVENTS VERSION 3 and the RADIATION THERAPY ONCOLOGY GROUP (RTOG) criteria.A sincere attempt will be made to understand if the toxicities encountered by indigenous patients are any different from those faced by other patients in order to address them more effectively.
Results are being collated and will be presented in full at the meeting.
This study will provide improved understanding of supportive care needs amongst patients of head and neck cancer including indigenous patients in the Northern Territory. Indigenous Australians are likely to experience increased treatment related toxicities and compliance issues. This study will help in assessing safety and efficacy of chemoradiotherapy in our patients and identify areas of improvement.