The evolution of care of cancers of the head and neck region: State of the science in 2020

Flora Yan, Hannah M. Knochelmann, Patrick F. Morgan, John M. Kaczmar, David M. Neskey, Evan M. Graboyes, Shaun A. Nguyen, Besim Ogretmen, Anand K. Sharma, Terry A. Day

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Cancers that arise in the head and neck region are comprised of a heterogeneous group of malignancies that include carcinogen-and human papillomavirus (HPV)-driven mucosal squamous cell carcinoma as well as skin cancers such as cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, and Merkel cell carcinoma. These malignancies develop in critical areas for eating, talking, and breathing and are associated with substantial morbidity and mortality despite advances in treatment. Understanding of advances in the management of these various cancers is important for all multidisciplinary providers who care for patients across the cancer care continuum. Additionally, the recent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has necessitated adaptations to head and neck cancer care to accommodate the mitigation of COVID-19 risk and ensure timely treatment. This review explores advances in diagnostic criteria, prognostic factors, and management for subsites including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and the various forms of skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma, cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, and melanoma). Then, this review summarizes emerging developments in immunotherapy, radiation therapy, cancer survivorship, and the delivery of care during the COVID-19 era.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1543
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
  • Salivary gland cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Thyroid cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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