Palliative management of advanced stage head and neck cancer Evidence-based case report

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Marlinda Adham
Anita Amalia Sari
Rudi Putranto
Indrati Suroyo
Eka Dian Safitri


Background: Head and neck cancer is one type of cancer with high prevalence in Indonesia. So far, the therapeutic approach for patients with head and neck cancer has focused a lot on the curative approach. In patients with advanced conditions, unable to undergo curative therapy, the palliative approach plays an important role to improve the quality of life.  This paper aims to better understand about palliative care in advanced head and neck cancer.

Case Illustration: Male, 43 years old, with adenocystic carcinoma of the salivary gland. The tumor has already spread to the spinal cord. The team decided to put the patient into palliative care. Treatment goals for this patient were to reduce pain.

Discussion: Therapeutic choices for head and neck cancer include surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. The palliative approach plays a role at the point where the patient’s condition determines the shift in the treatment plan from curative to palliative therapy. Early palliative therapy provided a statistically greater effect on the overall quality of life, overall survival, incidence of depression and severity of symptoms.

Conclusion: In advanced head and neck cancer, early palliative intent treatment leads to improvements in quality of life.

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Case Reports