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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 31-34

An audit and analysis of different causes of defaults in patients receiving radiation for head and neck cancers: A tertiary regional cancer center experience

Department of Radiation Oncology, Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre, Cuttack, Odisha, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. S Padhi
Department of Radiation Oncology, Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre, Cuttack, Odisha
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_114_17

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CONTEXT: Strict adherence and timely completion of the external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) schedule is an important prognostic factor in the survival of head and neck cancer patients. However, many patients are unable to complete the radiation treatment due to various reasons resulting in a poor outcome. AIMS: This study aims to study the pattern and various possible causes of defaults for possible intervention. SETTINGS AND DESIGN: A retrospective epidemiological analysis. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Patients receiving EBRT for head and neck cancers with curative intent from January 2015 to December 2015 but did not complete the prescribed treatment were included. Unplanned treatment breaks in the treatment was not taken into consideration. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS USED: SPSS version 21. RESULTS: Out of 458, 92 (20.08%) patients did not complete the EBRT (P = 0.06). Fifty-six out of total 92 patients (60.9%) who defaulted stopped taking treatment within halfway of the treatment (15 fraction) and 12 out of total 92 patients (13%) just at the 22nd/23rd fraction. Defaulter rates in patients from different places are in the range of 12.8% to 33.0% but was statistically not significant (P = 0.224). There was no particular age (P = 0.966), disease site (P = 0.354) preponderance among defaulters. Use of concurrent chemo-radiation in radical or adjuvant settings was also not related to defaults (P = 0.406). CONCLUSIONS: Radiation-induced acute toxicity, socioeconomic status and distance plays minimal role as a cause of patients who stop taking EBRT. There is no particular relation between age, disease site, treatment received before radiotherapy, intent of treatment, and concurrent chemoradiation-induced acute reactions with defaults among patients. Loss of income and work in the poor population during the treatment may be an important possible cause of defaults.


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