Survival of head and neck cancer in Greenland

Ramon Gordon Jensen, Jeppe Friborg, Jørn Rosborg, Lena Specht, Susanne Brofeldt, Marianne Hamilton Therkildsen, Preben Homøe

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    Abstrakt

    Objectives. Head and neck cancer is frequent in the Inuit population of Greenland and is characterized by a very high incidence of Epstein-Barr virus associated nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). However, information on the treatment and survival of Inuit head and neck cancer patients is practically non-existent. The aim of this study, therefore, was to analyse the epidemiological pattern, time course and survival of head and neck cancer patients in Greenland. Study design. Retrospective register-based study. Methods. The Danish Civil Registration System, the Danish Cancer Registry and hospital-based registries were used to identify all patients resident in Greenland diagnosed with head and neck cancer during the period 1994-2003. Data were analysed with regard to clinical characteristics, treatment delay and survival. Results. A total of 125 patients were identified. The age-standardized incidence rate for all head and neck cancer cases was 28/100,000 for males and 19/100,000 for females. High incidence rates were found for NPC and oral cancers. Of all cancers, 47% were stage IV at the time of diagnosis, while 61% of all NPC's were stage IV. The median delay from date of first symptom to treatment was 248 days for all cancers. The overall crude 5-year survival rate for all sites together was 35% and for NPC 20%. Conclusion. Survival of head and neck cancer in Greenland is very low. Delays in treatment and inadequate follow-up on treatment complications are probable causes. The improvements in treatment for NPC and other head and neck cancer cases over the last decades are yet to be seen in this Inuit population.

    OriginalsprogEngelsk
    Sider (fra-til)373-382
    Antal sider10
    TidsskriftInternational journal of circumpolar health
    Vol/bind69
    Udgave nummer4
    StatusUdgivet - 4 nov. 2010

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