How surgeon age affects posttreatment surveillance strategies for upper aerodigestive tract cancer patients

J. Gregory Clark, Katherine S. Virgo, Marc F. Clemente, Michael H. Johnson, Randal C. Paniello, Frank E. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Strategies for the surveillance of patients with upper aerodigestive tract (UADT) epidermoid cancer after potentially curative treatment are not uniform, and the most suitable regimen remains unknown. We investigated the effect of surgeon age on follow-up strategy. Materials and Methods: The 824 members of the Society of Head and Neck Surgeons (SHNS) and the 522 members of the American Society for Head and Neck Surgery (ASHNS) who were not members of the SHNS were surveyed using a custom-designed questionnaire to measure how these surgical experts performed follow-up on patients with UADT cancer. Subjects were asked how often they used 14 specific follow-up modalities for patients with resectable UADT cancer during years 1 to 5 after potentially curative primary treatment. Repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to compare practice patterns by surgeon age, as well as by tumor, node, metastasis (TNM) stage and year postsurgery. Results: Responses from 199 SHNS members (24%) and 221 ASHNS members (42%) were considered assessable. Strategies were highly correlated across TNM stages and years postsurgery for most of the 14 modalities. Mean follow-up intensity differed significantly by surgeon age only for bone scan and liver function tests. Although statistically significant, the differences in surveillance strategies among age groups were clinically small. Conclusion: Surveillance practice patterns of surgeons caring for patients after treatment for UADT cancer do not vary substantially with practitioner age. Postgraduate education is a plausible mechanism for this homogenization of practitioner behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-222
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999


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