Oral squamous cell carcinoma and a clinically negative neck: The value of follow-up

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BackgroundIn squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity (SCCOC), regular follow-up comprises 5 years of prescheduled visits, irrespective of tumor stage/classification and/or treatment. We analyzed our standard treatment and follow-up protocol in patients with a preoperative clinically negative neck (cN0) in SCCOC.MethodsThis is a retrospective chart analysis. Inventarization of treatment, occult metastatic spread, and follow-up were performed.ResultsIn all, 197 patients were included. The occult metastatic rate was 24%. Eighty-three percent of recurrent disease presented within 2 years. Fifty-three percent of the patients with recurrent disease visited their physician outside prescheduled control visits.ConclusionsUltrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration cytology currently is 1 of the most reliable staging techniques in cN0 SCCOC. Regular follow-up could perhaps be limited from 5 to 2 years of prescheduled follow-up visits. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2010

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