Background: Head and neck cancer (HNC) and its treatment lead to functional impairments. Rehabilitation by speech-language pathology (SLP) and occupational/physical therapy (OT/PT) can decrease morbidity.
Methods: The Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results-Medicare data for patients with HNC diagnosed between 2002 and 2011 was utilized to evaluate posttreatment rehabilitation.
Results: In 16 194 patients, the overall utilization rate was 20.7% for SLP and 26.2% for OT/PT services. Treatment modality was significantly associated rehabilitation utilization. Compared to patients treated with primary surgery, those treated with primary radiotherapy had significantly lower odds of OT/PT utilization. Patients treated with surgery plus adjuvant treatment and primary concurrent chemoradiation had higher odds of SLP utilization compared to patients treated with surgery alone.
Conclusions: Rehabilitation services appeared to be underutilized by patients with HNC in the United States and vary with treatment modality. There is a need to improve integration of rehabilitation services into the HNC care continuum.
Summary: Rehabilitation services are underutilized by patients with HNC during posttreatment surveillance in the United States. Treatment modality significantly impacts rehabilitation utilization patterns.
Keywords: head and neck cancer; occupational therapy; physical and rehabilitation medicine; rehabilitation research; speech-language pathology; survivorship.
© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.