Adherence to the American Cancer Society Head and Neck Cancer Survivorship Care Guideline According to Chart Review: A Nested Retrospective Cohort Pilot Study

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2023 May;132(5):481-491. doi: 10.1177/00034894221098471. Epub 2022 Jun 20.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to explore adherence to the American Cancer Society (ACS) Head and Neck Cancer (HNC) Survivorship Care Guideline and their outlined 33 recommendations among posttreatment HNC survivors.

Methods: A bi-institutional, retrospective, nested cohort study of mucosal or salivary gland HNC survivors diagnosed in 2018 was designed. Guideline adherence was assessed via retrospective chart review between 0 and 13 months after completion of oncologic treatment according to 4 categories: (1) problem assessed, (2) problem diagnosed, (3) management offered; (4) problem treated. Adherence was defined as meeting a recommendation subcategory at least once over the 13-month period.

Results: Among 60 randomly selected HNC survivors, a total of 38 were included in the final cohort after exclusion of individuals with ineligible cancers and those who died or were lost to follow-up over the study period. Approximately 95% of HNC survivors were assessed for HNC recurrence and screened for lung cancer. Certain common problems such as xerostomia, dysphagia, and hypothyroidism were screened for and managed in ≥70% of eligible survivors. Conversely, screening for other second primary cancers and assessment of a majority of other physical and psychosocial harms occurred in <70% of survivors, and in many cases none to a slim minority of survivors (eg, sleep apnea and sleep disturbance, body and self-image concerns). Only 5% of survivors received a survivorship care plan.

Conclusion: Overall adherence to the ACS HNC Survivorship Care Guideline in early posttreatment survivors was suboptimal. Interventions are needed to better implement and operationalize these guideline recommendations.

Keywords: guideline adherence; head and neck cancer; survivorship.

MeSH terms

  • American Cancer Society
  • Cohort Studies
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survivorship*