Evaluation of Oropharyngeal Cancers: Key points

  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) occurs most commonly
  • Aetiology includes smoking and HPV infection (See page on HPV)
  • Histological diagnosis is essential, also to exclude malignancies like minor salivary cancers, melanoma, lymphoma, and inflammatory causes (e.g. TB)
  • Surgery +/- (chemo)radiation, or primary chemoradiation offers the best chance of cure
  • Objectives of preoperative evaluation
    • Confirm diagnosis
    • Staging
    • Patient evaluation: Fitness, objectives (cure vs palliation), ability to undergo surgery +/- (chemo)radiation, or primary (chemo)radiation, and ability to deal with the long-term consequences of treatment
    • Decide whether to offer curative or palliative treatment
  • Surgery
    • Plan appropriate surgery
    • Avoid inappropriate surgery
    • Avoid surgery beyond the scope of the surgeon
  • Primary chemoradiation
    • Ability to complete treatment
    • Ability to deal with long-term consequences of treatment

Index: Clinical Practice Guidelines for Oropharyngeal cancer

Resource Appropriate Oropharyngeal Cancer Guideline Scenarios