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Changes in Head and Neck Oncologic Practice During the COVID-19 Pandemic 
  • Robert M. Brody, MD
Robert M. Brody, MD
University of Pennsylvania
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Abstract

Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has raised controversies regarding safe and effective care of head and neck cancer patients. It is unknown how much the pandemic has changed surgeon practice. Methods: A questionnaire was distributed to head and neck surgeons assessing opinions related to treatment and concerns for the safety of patients, self, family, and staff. Results: A total of 67 head and neck surgeons responded during the study period. Surgeons continued to recommend primary surgical treatment for oral cavity cancers. Respondents were more likely to consider non-surgical therapy for patients with early glottic cancers and HPV-mediated oropharynx cancer. Surgeons were least likely to be concerned for their own health and safety and had the greatest concern for their resident trainees. Conclusions: This study highlights differences in the willingness of head and neck surgeons to delay surgery or alter plans during times when hospital resources are scarce and risk is high.