AHNS Series--Do you know your guidelines? Guideline recommended follow-up and surveillance of head and neck cancer survivors

Head Neck. 2016 Feb;38(2):168-74. doi: 10.1002/hed.24100.


In this first article of the "Do You Know Your Guidelines" series, we review National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommendations and underlying evidence for the follow-up and surveillance of head and neck cancer survivors. The goals of follow-up and surveillance care are (1) to maximize long-term oncologic outcomes of therapy with appropriate evaluation for recurrence, (2) to maximize functional and quality of life outcomes, and (3) minimizing unnecessary and harmful low-value care. Finding the right balance of testing and surveillance is a challenge for providers and patients. Herein, we review all NCCN recommendations for head and neck cancer survivors. We pay particular attention to an area of controversy: the use of ongoing surveillance imaging, in particular, PET/CT scans.

Keywords: National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN); cancer survivorship; guidelines; head and neck cancer; multidisciplinary; surveillance.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Dental Care
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms*
  • Hearing Tests
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Physical Examination
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Societies, Medical
  • Speech Production Measurement
  • Survivors*
  • Thyrotropin / blood


  • DNA, Viral
  • Thyrotropin