Importance of clinical and radiological follow-up in head and neck cancers


Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, CHU Saint-Pierre, Brussels, Belgium


Laboratory of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, University of Mons-Hainaut, Pentagone 1B, Mons, Belgium

B-ENT 2007; 3: 179-184
Read: 518 Downloads: 466 Published: 21 February 2020

Importance of clinical and radiological follow-up in head and neck cancers. Problems/objectives: To evaluate the relevance of routine head and neck ultrasonography (US), computed tomography (CT), chest X-ray, and standard clinical examination for the early detection of recurrences, second primary tumours, and distant metastases in the followup of patients treated for head and neck cancers.

Methodology: Retrospective cohort study.

Results: One hundred ninety-five patients were reviewed. Seventy-one recurrences appeared during the follow-up period. Five recurrences were diagnosed during head and neck US and CT. Sixty-four recurrences were diagnosed based on patients’ complaints or standard clinical examination. Two lung malignancies were diagnosed during the annual chest Xray.

Conclusion: Systematic head and neck US and CT exams revealed recurrent cancers with poor efficiency and should be performed only after clinical suspicion of recurrence or second primary tumours. The value of an annual chest X-ray remains debatable. Routine clinical follow-up is clearly crucial for the detection of early recurrences and second primary tumours.

EISSN 2684-4907