Original Research

Epidemiology of head and neck cancer in a Johannesburg Hospital: A file review

Kim Coutts, Nicole Israel, Zareen Cassim, Engela Prinsloo
South African Journal of Oncology | Vol 7 | a276 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajo.v7i0.276 | © 2023 Kim Coutts, Nicole Israel, Zareen Cassim, Engela Prinsloo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 May 2023 | Published: 18 December 2023

About the author(s)

Kim Coutts, Department of Speech Pathology, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Nicole Israel, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Zareen Cassim, Department of Speech Pathology, Helen Joseph Hospital, Department of Health, Johannesburg, South Africa
Engela Prinsloo, Department of Speech Pathology, Helen Joseph Hospital, Department of Health, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Background: There is little to no epidemiological data on the presentation of head and neck cancer (HNC) patients in South Africa. These data are important to ensure that local teaching, research and health services meet the needs of this population.

Aim: To describe the epidemiological data of HNC patients using a record review from a tertiary level hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Setting: This study was piloted in a tertiary public hospital in Gauteng, South Africa.

Methods: Sixty files between 2015 and 2021 were analysed quantitatively to describe the trends of HNC patients presenting to the hospital. This was a pilot study to review if this methodology can be used for future larger scale studies in South Africa.

Results: Missing data were a significant finding as well as a limitation of the study. The most common form of HNC was laryngeal cancer, and African males were the predominant demographic. The most common comorbidities were smoking, hypertension and HIV/AIDS. The majority of patients presented with speech and swallowing difficulties and various complications that required multidisciplinary team management.

Conclusion: All HNC patients need to undergo early screening to assess for speech and swallowing difficulties to prevent further complications.

Contribution: The data derived from this study are novel and specific to the South African population. More studies of this nature are required to increase the availability of epidemiological data for this population, in order to inform evidence-based practices.


Keywords

Head and neck cancer; epidemiology; South Africa; public health; file review

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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