The management of head and neck cancer in Africa. What lessons can be learned from African literature?

There is a significant dearth of contextually relevant information related to the management of head and neck cancer (HNC) in Africa. The aim of this letter was to put forward the findings from our larger systematic review to describe the current management of HNC patients in Africa and to identify gaps and present potential solutions. Sixty-six articles were included and analysed with descriptive statistics, a narrative synthesis, and thematic analysis. Surgical resection remains the primary medical intervention in Africa, whilst chemotherapy and radiation services remain limited. There was no mention of multidisciplinary team input in the management of these patients, including no description of any rehabilitative treatments. There are significant resource shortages ranging from access to medical equipment to both skilled medical and rehabilitative staff. The findings from this study imply that the management of HNC in Africa requires a possible transdisciplinary approach to improve access to services. Health professionals also need to explore a community-based level approach to care to improve access. There needs to be more context-specific research to improve contextually relevant teaching and practice in HNC.

Effects of income and residential area on survival of patients with head and neck cancers following radiotherapy: working age individuals in Taiwan.

The five-year survival rate of head and neck cancer (HNC) after radiotherapy (RT) varies widely from 35% to 89%. Many studies have addressed the effect of socioeconomic status and urban dwelling on the survival of HNC, but a limited number of studies have focused on the survival rate of HNC patients after RT.During the period of 2000-2013, 40,985 working age individuals (20 < age  medium income group > low income group and northern > central > southern > eastern Taiwan. Patients with moderate income levels had a 36.9% higher risk of mortality as compared with patients with high income levels (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.369; p < 0.001). Patients with low income levels had a 51.4% greater risk of mortality than patients with high income levels (HR = 1.514, p < 0.001).In Taiwan, income and residential area significantly affected the survival rate of HNC patients receiving RT. The highest income level group had the best survival rate, regardless of the geographic area. The difference in survival between the low and high income groups was still pronounced in more deprived areas.