NICE Quality Standards Head and Neck Cancer

On March 3rd the NICE Quality Standards Advisory Committee for Head and Neck Cancer has published its recommendations.

It focuses on four areas of treatment that were recommended in the latest NICE guidelines last year. If the recommendations are fully implemented the patient experience would be enhanced.

The full report can be found here         Quality Standard

The areas are  (in my words):

Avoiding Over-treatment: Introduce the use of sentinel node biopsies, which would mean reducing unnecessary neck dissections

Nutritional Assessment: Ensuring that before treatment the nutritional needs of all patients are assessed to ensure a feeding tube is in place, if necessary

Accurate Tumour Staging: Use of PET-CT scans to guide treatment decisions

Patient Choice of treatment: Radiotherapy and surgery can be equally effective with some tumours such as early larynx or oropharyngeal and the provision of patient choice is appropriate.

There were many other competing areas of treatment that were recommended by stakeholders for inclusion, and these would have also yielded patient benefit. However Quality Standards are always limited to a small number of issues.