Did you know that each year 12,000 new cases of head and neck cancer are diagnosed in Spain and that it is estimated that in 2017 this figure will exceed 16,000? Due to the absence of an early diagnosis, 66 percent of cases of head and neck cancer are already detected when the disease is advanced. At this point, it should be noted that most of the symptoms are not specific to the pathology, as they are associated with other common diseases, so they go unnoticed by patients Medical Syndromes.
The squamous head and neck cancer affects people of all ages, gender and race, although it is more common in the elderly population (usually men between 40 and 50 years, but also affects women). In addition, in recent years there has been a higher prevalence in young people.
The current treatment options are surgery, radiotherapy and systemic therapy. Despite its efficacy, there is a tendency to relapse and, in a lesser percentage, there is a possibility that metastasis may occur.
Scientific and technological advances have improved the diagnosis, in addition to increasing the chances of cure and survival. The quality of life of patients has also been improved. However, due to the sensitivity of the area to be treated, this type of cancer tumors requires continuous monitoring and the application of prevention measures before, during and after the therapy ends.
Therefore, we want to raise awareness about this pathology to improve patient outcomes through these ten steps proposed by the Spanish Group of Patients with Cancer (GEPAC):
- Promote awareness of squamous cancer of the head and neck (CECC) , its risk factors and forms of prevention, as well as the recognition of symptoms to promote early diagnosis and referral of treatment to specialists.
- Ensure that all patients have access to scientific and truthful information to help them understand the disease, its prognosis, the treatments available and their side effects.
- To value the patient so that he participates in the decisions about the type of treatment he wants to carry out.
- Patients diagnosed with squamous cancer of the head and neck should be treated by a multidisciplinary team led by an oncologist specializing in this pathology.
- Promote the dissemination of best practices in the management of head and neck cancer with a comprehensive vision of the disease and always focused on the patient.
- Defend access to personalized medicine for each patient .
- Ensure patient support services before, during and after the treatment has been completed.
- Promote the advancement in the investigation of squamous cancer of the head and neck in order to improve the development of therapies that facilitate adherence and methods for evaluating the quality of life of the patient.
- Establish a national registry of head and neck tumors , as well as the treatment used and its impact on both the quality of life and the survival of patients.
- Reduce the social stigma suffered by those affected by this pathology by promoting the creation of partnerships in conjunction with patients and relatives, in order to improve their quality of life.