Award funds oropharyngeal cancer outcomes study

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute's Pipeline to Proposal program has given a clinical research award to an otolaryngologist with Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit to study treatment options and post-treatment rehabilitation for oropharyngeal cancer patients.

Steven Chang, MD, a surgeon in the department of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at the hospital, will focus on improving quality-of-life issues for long-term survivors of oropharyngeal cancer, according to a press release. Dr. Chang will receive $15,000 to build community partnerships and begin developing governance structures, communication plans, and potential research questions.

The incidence of oropharyngeal cancer has been increasing over the past 35 years and is predicted to overtake cervical cancer in the U.S. by 2020, according to the Henry Ford release. As the typical patient profile changes from an older white male who uses tobacco to a nonsmoking patient younger than 45, there are different expectations for quality of life following treatment.

Current first-line treatment is either chemoradiation or surgery, and these treatments result in different quality-of-life outcomes.

"Current clinical trials don't accommodate for the patient's wishes, perspective, and choice of treatment, which is very important in the real-world practice of medicine," Dr. Chang said.

The funds will be used to create a patient advisory council of head and neck cancer survivors and caregivers in Michigan.

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