Changes in head and neck oncologic practice during the COVID-19 pandemic

Robert M. Brody*, William Greer Albergotti, David Shimunov, Elizabeth Nicolli, Urjeet A. Patel, Brianna N. Harris, Andrés M. Bur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has raised controversies regarding safe and effective care of patients with head and neck cancer. 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 88 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 nonsurgical 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1448-1453
Number of pages6
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • coronavirus
  • head and neck cancer
  • treatment delays
  • wellness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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