The “Make Sense Campaign”, the European education and awareness campaign for the prevention of head-neck tumors, promoted in Italy by the Italian Association of Cervical-Cephalic Oncology (AIOCC), kicked off on 18 September. These carcinomas represent approximately 3% and 1% of all tumors in males and females respectively and arise in the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx and salivary glands. Although they are therefore “rare” tumors, they have a very important impact on the psycho-physical state of patients since they affect areas that are fundamental for physiological activities such as nutrition, breathing, phonation and, last but not least, the morphological aspect.

IN THE PROVINCE OF FERRARA the incidence of these pathologies can be estimated at approximately 120-150 new cases per year. The main risk factors are smoking and alcohol, to which papilloma virus infection has been added in the last 25 years.

The University Hospital of Ferrara has entrusted the Integrated “Head and Neck” Department, directed by prof. Stefano Pelucchiin the photo, (which includes the Operational Units of Otolaryngology, Maxillofacial Surgery, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Ophthalmology and Neurosurgery) and Diagnostic, Therapeutic and Assistance Path (PDTA) aimed at the diagnosis and treatment of these tumors, in accordance with national and international guidelines.

“This path – highlights the prof. Lint – guarantees patients suffering from head and neck oncological pathology access to the necessary services and rapid execution of the diagnostic and therapeutic process. The PDTA involves the integrated participation of various specialists and professionals (Multidisciplinary Group), characterized by the mandatory participation of certain specialist professional figures (core team), and the optional presence of others for some specific individual needs of patients (extended team). The “core team” includes: the head and neck surgeon (otolaryngologist, maxillofacial surgeon, plastic surgeon), oncologist, radiotherapist, dedicated radiologist, anatomic pathologist, nurse case manager. “The extended team” is made up of a neurosurgeon, nuclear doctor, interventional sonographer, speech therapist and nutritionist”.

Further specialist evaluations may be requested in relation to the individual patient’s conditions and needs (pre-operative anaesthesiological evaluation, for pain control or CVC positioning, psycho-oncological, odontostomatological, gastroenterological or general surgical evaluation for PEG or gastrostomy positioning).

Added to these professionals is the important care role of Doctor of general medicine.

The final objective of the Company PDTA is to guarantee all patients suffering from head and neck cancer a personalized and targeted therapeutic approach, which on the one hand takes into account the “biological” characteristics of the disease, and, on the other, the needs of the individual patient, to obtain the best survival and quality of life for the individual.

“It is absolutely essential – concludes the professor. Lint – that, in the face of a pathology that has such an impact on the psychological and physical well-being of patients, before we take care of it, there is awareness among citizens of the importance of primary prevention. This must arise, in my opinion, within the family and educational institutions, referring primarily to general practitioners and dental colleagues”.

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