Interventions for head and neck cancer survivors: Systematic review

Head Neck. 2022 Nov;44(11):2579-2599. doi: 10.1002/hed.27142. Epub 2022 Jul 18.


Background: Interventions for head/neck cancer (HNC) survivors may not address their cancer-related and general health needs.

Methods: Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guided this systematic review of studies from 2000 to 2021 of interventions targeting cancer survivors treated with curative-intent, using MEDLINE, Embase, Emcare, and PsycINFO. Interventions were categorized into domains of the Quality of Cancer Survivorship Care Framework to characterize the scope and quality of interventions.

Results: We identified 28 studies for inclusion: 13 randomized and 15 non-randomized. Most targeted surveillance/management of physical effects (n = 24) including 13 that also targeted psychosocial effects. Four studies addressed prevention/surveillance for recurrence/new cancers, one addressed health promotion/disease prevention, and one addressed chronic medical conditions. Most studies (n = 27) had medium-high risk of bias.

Conclusions: There are few high-quality studies addressing HNC survivorship. Future rigorously designed studies should address broader areas of care, including chronic disease management and health promotion/disease prevention.

Keywords: cancer treatment effects; head and neck cancer; oropharynx cancer; radiation therapy; survivorship.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Head and Neck Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Quality of Life* / psychology
  • Survivors
  • Survivorship