Cancer of the head and neck: a set of indicators based on register and administrative data

A Andreano, M Ansarin, D Alterio, R Bruschini, M G Valsecchi, A G Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


SUMMARY: Head and neck (H&N) tumours are a heterogeneous group of neoplasms with 5-year relative survival ranging from about 25% for the hypopharynx to 60% for the larynx in Europe. To improve survival rates, along with therapeutic improvements, it is important to standardise and optimise care received by patients with H&N tumours across different healthcare providers. To reach this goal, it is necessary to evaluate adherence to standards of received care at a population level. Published guidelines can serve as the basis to develop indicators, which can be computed from administrative health databases, measuring the adherence to specific recommendations at the individual level in unselected H&N cancer patients, identified from a population cancer register. We developed a set of indicators and calculated them in a cohort of 2007-2012 incident cases of H&N tumours in the cancer register of the Milan province (n = 1441 cases). The study cohort was mainly composed of men (77%) and patients older than 50 years (89%). Surgery was the most frequently employed treatment (66%). Ten percent of patients had no recorded treatment. Timing between cyto-histological assessment and first therapy for those having a recorded microscopic verification procedure was ≤ 60 days for 90.4% of patients undergoing surgery, 86.3% of those undergoing radiotherapy, and 90.7% of patients receiving chemotherapy. Eighty-three percent of patients underwent cyto-histological assessment in the 180 days before the first treatment. Evaluation by a pain therapist, opioid therapy or hospitalisation for palliative therapy in the 90 days before death was performed in 51% of patients who eventually died of cancer. This is the first Italian study defining and calculating quality indicators to monitor adherence to standards of care received by H&N cancer patients at a population level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalActa otorhinolaryngologica Italica : organo ufficiale della Societa italiana di otorinolaringologia e chirurgia cervico-facciale
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

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