PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The aim of this article is to examine the need for screening of endocrine dysfunction following treatment of head and neck cancer. RECENT FINDINGS: The incidence of occult hypothyroidism following treatment of head and neck cancer is high. Patients who develop hypothyroidism after treatment may have an increased survival compared with patients who did not become hypothyroid. Because of the growing body of evidence that supports a permissive role for thyroid hormone in the growth of certain solid tumours thyroid hormone replacement therapy may not be indicated in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism and prior or current cancer. Although the incidence of hypoparathyroidism after treatment for head and neck cancer is low, testing of serum calcium is easily performed during thyroid function evaluation. The incidence of hypopituitarism after irradiation of the nasopharynx or skull base is very high warranting regular evaluation of endocrine functions. SUMMARY: Owing to the high incidence of endocrine dysfunction, all head and neck cancer patients who undergo treatment of the lower neck, nasopharynx or base of skull need regular endocrine evaluation during long-term follow-up to determine the need to start hormone replacement therapy and maintain optimal quality of life. © 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
|Journal||Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|